Jan 14, 2017 03:27 PM IST IST | Source: PTI

India, UAE set to upgrade ties to comprehensive strategic

"Hopefully, we will finalise this new and broad agreement during the visit to India of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on January 26," Navdeep Singh Suri, Ambassador of India to the UAE said.

India and the UAE are set to finalise a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement when the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi visits New Delhi as Chief Guest at this year's Republic Day parade, India's envoy to the country has said.

"Hopefully, we will finalise this new and broad agreement during the visit to India of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on January 26," Navdeep Singh Suri, Ambassador of India to the UAE said.

An agreement to this effect opens the doors to new areas of bilateral co-operation, Suri told the Khaleej Times.

"We always talk about energy, security, about Indian community and labour issues, but now we are talking about defence cooperation, collaboration between security agencies and a common fight against terrorism and radicalisation around the world," he said.

"Of course, we are talking about translating into reality the commitment made by the UAE government to invest USD 75 billion into India's infrastructure. I have a broad menu in front of me and I hope that in the next year or two, I am able to move our agenda forward in concrete and tangible ways," he said.

Suri said bilateral trade between India and the UAE is in the range of USD 58 billion. India remains UAE's largest trading partner and the UAE is the third largest trading partner to India after China and the US.

The envoy said the UAE is a leading player in ports, airports, highways and construction. "We hope that we can encourage some of the top companies in the UAE to either undertake investments or expand their investments in India, in real estate or petrochemicals, for example." He said the visit of the Crown Prince will truly be a milestone.

"Every year India receives 30 or 40 heads of state or heads of governments. Over all, we have 90 plus high-level visitors to India each year but only one of them is chosen to be a chief guest for the Republic Day. This is an indication of the importance that India is giving to this relationship," Suri said.

"The visit also sends a message to more than a billion Indians who are watching the Republic Day Parade that 'look this visitor and country are very important to us'. So, apart from the fact that the world's eyes are on India's Republic Day event, there will be a focus on the 'Chief Guest of the Day'.

In terms of the symbolism that when we have His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed with us, it is significant," he said.

India and the UAE are also in the process of finalising major agreements, he said without elaborating.

A contingent from the UAE Air Force is expected to participate at the Republic Day Parade. "It is a matter of great joy for us that they will be marching side by side with their Indian counterparts and that again is a very visual symbol of the closeness between the two countries," he added.

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