India, UAE sign pact on political consultations (Lead)June 28th, 2011 - 12:12 am ICT by IANS
New Delhi, June 27 (IANS) India and United Arab Emirates (UAE) Monday signed an agreement to hold political consultations on international and regional affairs, a move that is expected to build on their robust bilateral relations.
The memorandum of understanding was signed by the two countries during UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s 24-hour visit to India that began Sunday.
The memorandum was signed by External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna on behalf of India, according to a ministry of external affairs press release Monday evening.
Abdullah was accompanied by senior officials from the UAE foreign affairs ministry and top corporate honchos, who are looking for opportunities in areas of shipping, aviation, telecommunication and energy.
Earlier in the day, the UAE foreign minister called on Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, apart from holding delegation-level talks with Krishna on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues, apart from exploring possibilities on intensifying relations in trade and investment, energy, security and global finance.
The two sides also discussed co-operation in technology transfer, research and development in areas related to space, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and bio-technology.
The two sides were exploring possibilities of setting up industrial complexes in the Gulf as well as in India and third countries to cater to markets worldwide.
India and the UAE have a defence cooperation agreement since 2003 and the two armed forces, particularly their air forces and navies, regularly hold joint exercises, apart from an Indian support to capacity building of the Gulf federation’s armed forces.
Meanwhile, UAE Assistant Minister for Economic Affairs Khalid Ghanem Al Ghaith, who was part of the federation’s delegation to India, told reporters on the sidelines of a business summit here that they were keen on increasing investment in some key sectors of the Indian economy like power, oil and gas and tourism.
“We already have some investment here. But we are looking forward to increasing our presence in various sectors like power, oil and gas and tourism,” Ghaith said.
According to Ghaith, the trade and investment opportunities between both the countries were enormous and had to be tapped.
“There is an enormous opportunity for trade and investment here. A lot more has to be done to tap this potential,” he said.
“Industries should meet more and interact. There is a huge potential for trade and investment on both the sides,” said Atul Punj, chairman, Punj Lloyd.
Meanwhile, UAE’s electricity utility TAQA said that it was looking for investment opportunities in south India’s power sector.
“We are looking for investment opportunities in the power sector in southern India region,” said Abdullah Bin Saif Al Nuaimi, director general, TAQA.
Bilateral trade between India and the UAE was estimated to be $43.46 billion in 2009-10.
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