India- UAE Defence Cooperation MOD- SIDM, CII, New Delhi Held on 27.10.2020

UAE Ambassador to India H E Dr. Ahmed Albanna

New Delhi (Asian Independent)- UAE Ambassador to India H E Dr. Ahmed Albanna delivered a special address at the virtual meeting on the theme: “India- UAE Defence cooperation” organized by CII, New Delhi, said, At a very challenging times, this important programme is organized when the whole world is facing a tough time.

UAE and India has reached a comprehensive strategic partnership.

The two countries have developed a deeper appreciation in each other as multiple culture and multiple ethnic society and important member of the global and regional community.

Our two countries signed comprehensive strategic partnership in Jan 2017 and India was the first country for this agreement.

In the last five years, UAE and India has exchanged five heads of states visits, these include two visits by his Highness shiekh Mohammad bin zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of UAE armed forces to India in Feb 2016 and Jan 2017 being the chief guest at the Indian Republic Day.

There were three important visits made by honorable Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Aug2015 Feb 2018 and of course in Aug 2019 where he was awarded one of the highest award in the UAE.

UAE is the only country in the Arab region which has been visited by Indian Prime Minister Honorable shri Narendra Modi as a first visit after becoming Indian Prime Minister.

Before I touch upon defence cooperation area, I would like to discuss little about our recent achievements, the UAE’ participation in India NIIF investment fund as the first foreign institution investor creating such a platform. UAE is the first country to participate in India’s strategic petroleum reserves, a consortium led by India ONGC including Indian oil and Bharat petroleum has been awarded 10% stake in the Lower Zakum concession with the participation fee of 2.2 billion dirham which is around USD599 million.

The deal marks first time the emirate of Abu Dhabi has awarded a stake in a concession to an Indian group. ADNOC and Saudi Aramco signed a framework agreement to jointly develop the refinery and Petro chemical with a co investment reaching around 44 billion dollars.

UAE and India food security have established logistic and cold storage chain and processing facility in three major states i.e

Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat with an intention to triple the export of food products from India to UAE, currently from 2.2 billion to 6 to 7 billion hopefully in the next coming 3to 5 years.

The launch of rupees card in UAE has been appreciated. The UAE is the first country in the middle east to facilitate and arrange such arrangements for the Indian rupees card in the Arab regions.

Our bilateral in 1985 was about 185 million dollars, now it is 60 billion US dollars. India is the second largest country in term of foreign trade partnership and we are the third largest to India. If we look at the portofolio of the investment, there are great huge investments from both. There are important viable sectors that companies of the two countries have been looking forward to enter into collaboration and more investment.

In terms of air connectivity, 1068 flight operate between India and UAE today with 168 thousands seats capacity between the two countries. There is a huge demand and we are looking forward to increase this seat capacity. There is possibility of reviewing the seat capacity enhancement that was signed several years ago.

In terms of India and UAE defence cooperation, considering our strategic relationship, I strongly believe that this is a very opportune time for India and UAE to escalate defence cooperation and specially for the untapped potential and to get to joint defense production through collaborative partnerships between our industries and government covering our mutual and strategic and commercial interests.

Summaries of development show that we are achieving our goals counting on India as a valuable and important partner . UAE and India defence cooperation will promote regional stability and cooperation as partners in peace.

Between the two countries there are regular high level visits with the purpose meeting several manufacturer of defence products. Not only this, these visits also look at education, health sector etc.

We have three high level committees between India and UAE. The joint commission which is headed by our foreign minister and Indian foreign minister Dr S.Jai Shankar.

We have the high level investment taskforce which is due to meet hopefully sometime next week, which is headed by UAE side.

Of course, strategic dialogue committee headed by our minister of state of foreign affairs and also from India side. Those committees show the importance of our relationship.

Mou was signed in 2107 that was during the visit of HIS Highness being the chief guest at the republic day and the agreement was signed between Ministry of defence ,UAE and Ministry of defence, India to identify cooperation in manufacturing technology, R&D and military field.

Today India has opened up defence sector further for foreign investors.Indian ministry of defence through newly announced acquisition procedures allow 74% FDI in the defence sector through automatic route.

We are also hopeful that soon to be announced Indian defence production exports promotion policy 2020 will create more opportunities for partnerships between India and UAE.

The two countries are committed closely to strengthen Marine security in the gulf and Indian ocean to preserve stability and peace which is vital for prosperity.

I am so optimistic about our future together that our two nations are poised to emerge more stronger post the pandemic of coronavirus. Since at the core of our partnership lies the strength of our people and people to people.