The meeting comes ahead of UAE Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Shaikh Mohammad bin Zayed’s three-day visit to India.
Top Indian and UAE officials held their first strategic dialogue in the Indian capital of New Delhi on Friday ahead of the visit of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, as the chief guest for this year’s Republic Day celebrations.
The strategic dialogue, held between the two Foreign Offices, was co-chaired by Dr Anwar Mohammad Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and M.J. Akbar, Indian Minister of State for External Affairs. During the meeting, the two sides agreed on a number of new initiatives to further strengthen the bilateral cooperation and on signing of fresh instruments of cooperation.
The two sides were represented by strong delegations representing different ministries and departments.
Apart from finalising preparations for Shaikh Mohammad’s state visit which begins on January 24, the two sides discussed a number of issues — ranging from cooperation in the areas of trade and investments to expanding the bilateral cooperation to new areas under the strategic partnership, including energy security, defence, information technology and space technologies.
“Setting the stage for an important visit. First India UAE Strategic Dialogue takes place in Delhi before visit of Crown Prince next week,” Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.
According to the Indian ministry, during the visit, Shaikh Mohammad will meet Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari as well as hold discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on bilateral, regional and global issues.
During the three-day visit, Shaikh Mohmmad will be accompanied by a high-level delegation, including ministers, senior officials and top industry leaders.
A 200-member UAE Air Force contingent will also visit India, marching at the Indian Republic Day parade on January 26.
The two countries are expected to sign five memoranda of understanding (MOUs) during the visit, enhancing cooperation in the fields of infrastructure, maritime transport and training, agriculture as well as SMEs.
The strategic dialogue was held after the two countries with long-standing ties decided to elevate their mutually beneficial relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership following high-profile visits from both sides in the last couple of years.
Indian Prime Minister Modi made a landmark visit to the UAE in August 2015, which was followed by Shaikh Mohammad’s first visit to India in February 2016.
Bilateral trade between India and the UAE stood at about $50 billion (Dh183 billion) in 2015-16.
The UAE is among the top investors in India in terms of foreign direct investment and was the fifth largest supplier of crude oil to India in 2015-16.
At 2.6 million, Indians form the largest expatriate group in the UAE.
Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed will be the chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi on January 26.
He will be accompanied by a high-level delegation, including ministers, senior officials and leaders of the industry.
Shaikh Mohammad will call on Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, and hold discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on bilateral, regional and global issues.
This is the second state visit of Shaikh Mohammad to India.
India and UAE have been top trading partners with a bilateral trade of about $50 billion in 2015-16.
UAE is among the top investors in India in terms of foreign direct investment and it was the fifth largest supplier of crude oil to India in 2015-16.
About 2.6 million Indians form the largest expatriate community in the UAE.