Relations between India and UAE at best ever: PM Modi

Modi in an interview with the UAE's official news agency, WAM, said that India has found a "valuable partner" in the UAE to achieve its ambitious dream of becoming a USD 5 trillion economy. (PTI Photo)

India's relations with the UAE are "at their best ever" as bilateral ties have been elevated from a mere "buyer-seller" to that of a comprehensive strategic partnership in the last four years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said as he highlighted the excellent rapport between the leadership of the two countries.

Modi in an interview with the UAE's official news agency, WAM, said that India has found a "valuable partner" in the UAE to achieve its ambitious dream of becoming a USD 5 trillion economy.

"India has embarked on the ambitious, yet achievable, path to be a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024-25. We are targeting about USD 1.7 trillion dollar worth of investments in the coming five years. To achieve this vision, the government is working to promote inflows from domestic as well as foreign sources," Modi said, who is in the UAE on the second leg of his three-nation tour.

The Prime Minister believes that his third visit to the UAE, in the last four years, reflects the desire and will of the two countries to sustain the momentum achieved in the bilateral relationship.

"We consider the UAE as a valuable partner in realising the objective to reach USD 5 trillion economy through a mutually beneficial partnership," said Modi who started on Friday night a two-day state visit to the UAE.

He said that the UAE-India relations are "at their best ever", adding that the UAE investments in key sectors in India are growing.

"There has been an increasing interest in investments in India in sectors ranging from renewable energy, food, ports, airports, defence manufacturing and other sectors," Modi said.

"UAE investments in (sectors such as) infrastructure and housing are being enhanced.

"The UAE is our third largest trade partner with about USD 60 billion bilateral trade in 2018-19. Many of our companies are investing here in the UAE. Both countries are working closely and vigorously to implement the commitment of USD 75 billion investment by the UAE in India.

Annual bilateral trade between India and the UAE stood at about USD 60 billion. The UAE is also a key source of energy for India, being the fourth-largest exporter of crude oil for India, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement in New Delhi ahead of his visit to the kingdom.

In another interview to Khaleej Times, Modi said that "strengthening the relationship between the countries is one of the most important foreign policy priorities of my government... With unstinted commitment and cooperation from both sides, we have come a long way in the last five years."

He also said that the relations with the UAE have been elevated from a mere "buyer-seller" relationship to that of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in the last four years.

On his relations with Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Modi, said that "the Crown Prince and I regard each other as brothers. We have developed enormous goodwill and mutual respect. I believe that the excellent rapport between the two of us is an important driving force in realising the true potential of our relationship."

The excellent cooperation received from the leadership has transformed the relationship not only in energy and people-to-people contact, but in trade, investments, defence, food, and security cooperation, he said.

"We share a common vision for our bilateral relations and I highly appreciate the initiatives of His Highness the Crown Prince for regional peace, prosperity and stability, Modi said, who will also receive the 'Order of Zayed', the highest civilian decoration conferred by the UAE government.

"I feel very honoured to receive the UAE's highest civil honour, the Order of Zayed. It is a testimony to our growing partnership and is also an honour for the entire Indian nation of 1.3 billion people, Modi said.

From Abu Dhabi, Modi will visit Bahrain where he will hold talks with King Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and also witness the formal beginning of the re-development of the temple of Shreenathji -- the oldest in the Gulf region before returning to France on Sunday to attend the G7 Summit meetings.

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