India- UAE Joint Statement during the State Visit of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi
February 12, 2016
- At the invitation of Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of the Republic of India, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces paid his first State Visit to India from 10 to 12 February 2016. The visit follows Prime Minister Modi’s official visit to the UAE in August 2015, during which the UAE and India agreed to elevate their friendly relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
- India and the UAE enjoy strong bonds of friendship based on civilizational links, age-old maritime trade and vibrant people-to-people contacts. In modern times, the dynamism of the two countries has translated into a rapidly expanding and mutually beneficial partnership, with the two nations now enjoying an extensive framework of agreements and partnerships. Close geographical proximity, historical links, cultural affinity, natural synergies, shared aspirations and common challenges provide further impetus to this robust engagement.
- During Prime Minister Modi’s historic visit to UAE in August 2015, the UAE and India agreed to further strengthen their cooperation in several key areas, including trade and investment, security, counter-terrorism, joint defence production, space cooperation, IT and electronics. During their meeting in New Delhi on 11 February, His Highness the Crown Prince and Prime Minister Modi expressed satisfaction at the progress made in advancing bilateral cooperation in these areas since last August, and underscored the two countries’ collective ambition to continue to develop the vast potential of the UAE-India relationship.
- Prime Minister Modi and His Highness the Crown Prince held wide-ranging discussions in a sincere, cordial and friendly atmosphere. They exchanged views on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest and reached a broad consensus. The discussions enabled better appreciation of each other’s concerns and perspectives and helped forge closer understanding at the highest political level.
- Assessing that their ties have never been stronger and expressing satisfaction at the direction of bilateral engagement, the two leaders announced their decision to enshrine the new strategic direction of the UAE-India relationship in a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement setting out the principles on which the UAE-India partnership is based, and outlining a roadmap for deepening cooperation.
- Recognizing the need to further develop and strengthen the historical links that bind the UAE and India, the two leaders agreed to build a partnership for the 21st century anchored in values of respect, mutual understanding, and dynamic cooperation. They looked forward to the early signing of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement, and resolved to build on the momentum by pursuing the following areas of collaboration:
Trade, Investment and Economic Development
- The two leaders appreciated the strong synergies between the UAE and India, which have been shaped by centuries of successful cooperation and interconnectedness. For a long time, Mumbai has served as the UAE’s gateway to India, and as a springboard to a world of learning and opportunity. Today, the UAE is a dynamic hub for global business, and the access point to India and the world for many nations.
- Emphasizing the importance of expanding growth and trade opportunities to drive the strategic partnership forward, the two leaders noted the constructive outcomes of the meeting of the UAE-India Joint Commission held in September 2015, and the meetings of the UAE-India High Level Taskforce on Investment held in October 2015 and February 2016. They welcomed the launch of the UAE-India Business Council in September 2015 and agreed to build the Council into a solid and useful platform for cooperation.
- The two sides expressed satisfaction at the level of bilateral trade, which amounted to USD 59 billion in 2014-15. Taking note of their excellent economic engagement, with the two countries being among the top trading partners for each other, the two leaders agreed upon the need to further strengthen these ties, particularly through diversifying non-oil trade. They also expressed satisfaction at the growing presence of Indian and UAE companies in each other’s market and agreed to further encourage trade promotion measures and participation in fairs and exhibitions.
- Reaffirming their resolve to work together to substantially increase trade by 60 percent over the next five years as agreed during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the UAE in August 2015, the two sides examined various tariff and non-tariff barriers, and agreed to enhance the trade of priority commodities and expand the access of goods and services in both markets. They expressed satisfaction in respect to trade promotion measures adopted under their bilateral Action Plans.
- His Highness the Crown Prince expressed confidence in India’s dynamic economy and appreciation for Prime Minister Modi’s impressive vision for the future of the country. He commended Prime Minister Modi’s dynamic initiatives “Start Up India”, “Make in India”, “Smart City”, and “Clean India”, noting their strong potential to provide India’s USD 2 trillion economy a positive impetus for growth, and to accelerate progress in bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
- The Indian side highlighted the major initiatives taken by the Government of India to improve the ease of doing business in the country. India’s key efforts to simplify and rationalize existing rules and relax foreign direct investment caps in key areas, including railways, defense, and insurance were also noted. Prime Minister Modi invited the UAE to be a partner in India’s growth story, and to participate in projects creating mega industrial manufacturing corridors, including the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor as well as the Digital India and Start up India programs.
- The two sides discussed their plans for infrastructure development. The Indian side highlighted the experience and expertise its companies had acquired in infrastructure development, including in power generation and transmission, civil construction, railways and metros, hospitals, airports, housing and roads. It conveyed the interest of Indian companies to be a partner in the infrastructure projects being undertaken by the UAE in preparation for the World EXPO, which will be held in Dubai in 2020, as well as in the UAE’s development plans.
- The UAE noted its interest in investing in infrastructure development in India, especially in priority areas such as railways, roads, ports, and shipping. The two leaders welcomed the opening of DP World’s new smart port Nhava Sheva in Mumbai on 12 February and the signing of a framework Memorandum of Understanding between the UAE and India which will serve to facilitate and expand the participation of Emirati investors in infrastructure projects in India. The two sides described these developments as important steps towards reaching the USD 75 billion target for UAE investments in India’s infrastructure development plans.
- The Indian side thanked the UAE side for its interest shown in the proposal for establishing a semiconductor fabrication facility in India. The two sides agreed to further business-to-business cooperation in Information Technology (IT), Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES), and Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM). The UAE side also expressed its willingness to assist in India’s goal of attracting capital and investment by pursuing opportunities in the health care industry, including in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology sectors and resolved to urge its private sector to explore early participation in these sectors.
- The two sides agreed to enhance cooperation in space science and space technology and to explore a long-term plan to identify cooperation projects in areas of mutual interest. They expressed satisfaction at the active engagement between the UAE Space Agency and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), which has led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding and the establishment of a Joint Working Group for space cooperation.
- The two sides further agreed to exchange information on various investment opportunities and related incentives and to exchange information on financial, legal, and administrative incentives along with required procedures to cooperate in establishing joint investment projects in the UAE and India, as well as joint investment projects in third countries. They also agreed to pool resources and expertise in the development of infrastructure in third countries.
- In the area of civil aviation, the leaders recognized that the further expansion and development of air routes between the UAE and India is essential for the continued growth of broader economic relations. They also agreed to convene consultations between their respective civil aviation authorities in the first quarter of 2016, to discuss key areas of mutual interest.
Energy and Climate Change
- Recognizing that energy is a central pillar of the economic relationship, the two leaders expressed satisfaction at their growing bilateral trade in the energy sector, noting that the UAE is one of the largest suppliers of crude oil to India. They welcomed the intention of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and the Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd. (ISPRL) to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of a Strategic Petroleum Reserve in India, and agreed to conclude negotiations in the near future.
- The two sides looked forward to increased cooperation in the crude oil sector, including through training, and human resources development. The Indian side conveyed the keen interest of Indian oil companies in forming joint ventures with and offering equity participation to UAE companies, as well as in seeking participation in prospective exploration rounds in the UAE and in opportunities for joint exploration in third countries.
- The two leaders acknowledged the need to cooperate on climate change in line with the Paris Agreement, and noted that the development of sustainable sources of energy is a shared strategic priority. They agreed to expand their collaboration in renewable energy and in international negotiations on climate change, under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and agreed to continue to extend strong support to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
- The two leaders also agreed to explore opportunities to foster partnerships between the government, the private sector, civil society and academia in the field of climate change. They welcomed the signing of a General Framework Arrangement for Cooperation in Renewable Energy, which will lead to deeper exchanges in these areas.
- His Highness the Crown Prince commended Prime Minister Modi on the launch of the new International Solar Alliance (ISA) initiative in Paris on 30 November 2015, and affirmed support for the initiative, in which the UAE is a founding member. The two leaders agreed to build on the outcomes of the second Steering Committee meeting of ISA, which was held in Abu Dhabi in January 2016, to advance new solar technologies worldwide. They acknowledged the importance of ensuring synergies between the ISA and IRENA.
People and Culture
- The UAE and India are pluralistic societies which value diversity and strive to show respect for all faiths and religions. The two leaders recognized the close links between the people of both countries, including the valuable role of the Indian community in the UAE, and its contribution to the prosperity and development of both India and the UAE.
- Reflecting on the important legacy of Mahatma Gandhi both at home and internationally, His Highness the Crown Prince expressed admiration for the values of tolerance and non-violence espoused by the late leader, noting that these values strongly resonate with the people of the UAE.
- His Highness the Crown Prince expressed appreciation for the role and contribution that the Indian community in the UAE has made to the UAE’s development, noting that Indian citizens in the UAE were highly respected for their peaceful and hard-working ethics. The Indian side thanked the UAE for ensuring the continued welfare of the Indian community in the UAE and for the process of labour reforms initiated by the UAE Ministry of Labour. The two sides agreed to hold the next India-UAE Joint Labour Committee Meeting in the first quarter of 2016 and to work towards the early conclusion of a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding on labour issues.
- The two sides welcomed the signing of a Cultural Exchange Programme between India and UAE for 2016-2018, which aims to enhance cultural cooperation between the two countries. They agreed to promote cooperation in the media, radio, film, and television. The leaders also directed that a cultural project, bringing art to infrastructure, be initiated in 2016 to showcase the vitality and diversity of UAE culture in India.
Security and Defence
- The two leaders expressed satisfaction at the current levels of bilateral security cooperation between the UAE and India, and acknowledged the progress achieved through regular security dialogue between their National Security Councils. They agreed to strengthen their strategic partnership by continuing to work closely together on a range of security issues, particularly on counter-terrorism, maritime security, and cyber-security, while re-affirming their respect for the bedrock principles of national sovereignty and non-interference.
- With a view to ensuring that the cyberspace remains a safe and secure space which would not be used as a medium to promote subversive and extremist ideologies, the two sides agreed to cooperate on sharing technical best practices in the field of information and communications technologies.
- In the area of defence cooperation, the two sides renewed their commitment to strengthening the existing cooperation in training, joint exercises, and participation in defence exhibitions, as well as in identifying opportunities to cooperate on the production of defence equipment in India.
- The two leaders agreed to enhance cooperation to strengthen maritime security in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean region, which is vital for the security and prosperity of both countries.
- Expressing satisfaction at the progress achieved in the fifth round of navy-to-navy staff talks held in Abu Dhabi in September 2015, the two sides agreed to hold the next meeting of the Joint Defence Cooperation Committee in the near future and to expedite the conclusion of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Mutual Protection of Classified Information.
International and Regional Cooperation
- The two leaders strongly condemned extremism and terrorism in all of their forms and manifestations, irrespective of who the perpetrators are and of their motivations. They reiterated that any justification for terrorism and any link between extremism or terrorism and religion should be strongly rejected by the international community. They reiterated their condemnation for efforts, including by states, to use religion to justify, support and sponsor terrorism against other countries, or to use terrorism as instrument of state policy. They further deplored efforts by countries to give religious and sectarian colour to political issues and pointed out the responsibility of all states to control the activities of the so-called ‘non-state actors’, and to cut all support to terrorists operating and perpetrating terrorism from their territories against other states.v
- The two sides deplored the use of double standards in addressing the menace of international terrorism and agreed to strengthen cooperation in combating terrorism both at the bilateral level and within the multilateral system. Praising their growing bilateral cooperation to combat international terrorism, the two leaders expressed confidence that these efforts would contribute to global peace and security. The two leaders further called upon the international community to strengthen international and multilateral regimes to effectively address the challenges posed by terrorism, and to not allow political considerations stand in the way of their implementation. The two sides agreed to work together towards the adoption of India’s proposed Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the United Nations.
- The Indian side expressed deep appreciation for the solidarity expressed by the UAE on the terrorist attack on the Indian Airforce base in Pathankot in early January.
- In the context of the growing phenomenon of religious intolerance and radicalization being witnessed worldwide, the two leaders commended each other on their efforts to build pluralistic societies based on universal values of humanity and peaceful co-existence among different faiths and communities. The two sides noted that the Indian and UAE models act as strong bulwarks against the forces of extremism and radicalism. They affirmed their abiding commitment to the ideals of promoting harmony between different cultures and faiths through interfaith dialogue.
- The two leaders also agreed to establish an annual Policy Dialogue to discuss issues related to peace in security in their region, and to strengthen their dialogue on regional security issues of mutual interest. They noted the signing in January of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Emirates Policy Center and the Indian Institute for Defence and Strategic Analyses. In order to further strengthen institutional cooperation and understanding between the two countries, the two sides pledged to deepen cooperation between India’s Ministry of External Affairs and the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including through policy planning dialogue, and coordination on the training of their diplomats through exchange programs and collaboration between their respective diplomatic training institutes.
- Acknowledging the importance of achieving sustainable solutions through international cooperation mechanisms, the two leaders noted with satisfaction that the UAE and India share many common positions on issues of importance in the multilateral context, and agreed to fortify their efforts in international fora in the future, including by strengthening their cooperation in the framework of the Indian Ocean Rim Association.
- They also expressed interest in exploring opportunities for South-South cooperation in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly through trade and investment, grants and loans, collaboration in trade and technology, and joint projects aimed at supporting the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals.
- Prime Minister Modi thanked His Highness the Crown Prince for the UAE’s support for India’s candidature for permanent membership of a reformed UN Security Council.
- His Highness the Crown Prince thanked Prime Minister Modi and the people of India for the warm welcome extended to him and his delegation. He extended invitations to the Honorable President and Prime Minister of India to visit the UAE at a mutually convenient time, which were gladly accepted. The two leaders re-affirmed their commitment to building a comprehensive strategic partnership for the 21st century, noting that regular high-level exchanges play a key role in enhancing the partnership between India and the UAE.