A visit to the India Pavilion at the Dubai Expo and the signing of the Free Trade agreement are the focus of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) on January 6, 2022. The India Pavilion as reported earlier is four storeys, showcasing India’s advances in space programme, yoga, ayurveda and much more. Models of the Ram Temple as well as the BAPS Hindu temple being built in Abu Dhabi is on display.
Earlier this year in October, the India Pavilion was inaugurated by the Minister of Commerce Piyush Goyal. Till date several top world leaders including the King of Sweden and the foreign minister of Cyprus.
India-UAE Free Trade Agreement
Another important agenda of the PM’s visit to the Gulf nation is the signing of the FTA between the two countries which is expected to open opportunities in several sectors for both sides.
According to media reports, Commerce Minister Goyal has termed the FTA between the two countries as the fastest.
Timeline for FTA talks & what happened to the India-GCC FTA Talks?
The Financial Express had reported earlier that the India and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries had in 2004 inked Framework Agreement on Economic Cooperation. And after two rounds of negotiation, not much progressed between the sides. There were calls to operationalize the Framework agreement as well as a FTA.
Such an agreement was expected to lead to deeper economic engagement, extension of the existing trade frameworks and most importantly reduce duties and tariffs. The region is interested in agricultural as well as industrial category products from India.
In the region UAE is India’s largest commercial partner in the region, it is also the largest export destination for India as it is gateway to international as well as regional markets.
The Gulf country has been investing in several sectors in India including metallurgy, power, construction and infrastructure, and in computer hardware and software.
Several top Emirati companies are already very active in India including DP world which is running almost 34 percent of all Indian container terminals, according to reports. Abu Dhabi’s National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC), Dubai-based private equity firm Abraaj Group, contractor Drake and Scull International, and KEF Holdings are among the other big Emirati names present in India.
Almost 800 and more leading Indian companies are present in UAE in the Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), and other companies like Larsen & Toubro (L&T), Hinduja Group, Punj Lloyd, Pioneer Cement, and the Oberoi Hotels Group are playing a critical role in that country’s infrastructure programmes.
Both sides have elevated their relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. And are in constant touch to have deeper cooperation in various sectors including joint production of Defence platforms, space, agriculture as well as trade and investment.
Both countries have also been working towards a FTA, which will become a reality next year.
When did the talks start?
Earlier this year in September, and by the first week of December three rounds of talks between the two sides had already taken place.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited UAE three times between 2015-2019. UAE has also conferred the highest civilian award “the Order of Zayed” on him.