New Delhi: Terming their ties as "time-tested", India and the UAE resolved to further intensify wide- ranging bilateral engagements including in strategic areas of security, defence, energy and decided to come up with an action plan by June to increase bilateral trade by 60 per cent over the next five years.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who held comprehensive talks yesterday, also expressed satisfaction over the ties having been matured into a robust relationship across a broad spectrum of political, economic, trade and investment, energy, defence and security spheres.
An India-UAE joint statement, issued today, said the two leaders reiterated that the ongoing close cooperation on a range of security issues, particularly on counterterrorism, maritime security and cyber-security remained a key pillar of the bilateral strategic partnership.
Modi appreciated the support extended by UAE on specific issues of security concern to India as the two sides agreed to enhance cooperation in the fields of law enforcement, anti-money laundering, smuggling of fake currency, drug trafficking, human trafficking, illegal migration and other transnational organised crimes.
The two leaders agreed to provide further impetus to defence relations, including through joint exercises, training of naval, air and land forces, as also in the area of coastal defence and through participation in defence exhibitions etc.
Asserting that the UAE and India must continue to cooperate closely in order to expand mutual trade and economic opportunities, leveraging the strategic bonds, the two sides decided to conduct required studies to come up with action plans by June 2017 in order to develop a medium and long term strategy for increasing bilateral trade by 60 percent over the next five years, the statement said.
These would focus on identification of potential sectors and the impeding tariff and non-tariff barriers, exploring opportunities in services sector and formulating a sector- specific strategy to boost two way trade and investments, it added.
Expressing satisfaction at the progress achieved in the eighth round of Joint Defence Cooperation Committee talks held in Abu Dhabi in December 2016, the two sides agreed to hold the next meeting of the Joint Defence Cooperation Committee this year.
India and the UAE expressed common resolve to bolster cooperation and exchanges on countering piracy in their shared maritime domain in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean regions and to exchange experiences in maritime security, including joint anti-piracy training and exercises, the joint statement said.
Prime Minister Modi thanked the UAE Armed Forces for their participation in the Republic Day parade.
The two leaders reviewed the progress in realising the USD 75 billion target for UAE investments in India's plans for rapid expansion of next generation infrastructure development with Modi inviting the UAE's participation in India's National Infrastructure Investment Master Fund as an anchor investor.
The two leaders agreed that the Joint Working Group, formed under the MoU on the framework for facilitating the participation of UAE Institutional Investors in National
Infrastructure Investment Fund, should meet regularly to boost investment ties to realise the full potential.
As per the statement, the UAE side reaffirmed its interest in investing in infrastructure development in India, especially in priority areas such as energy, power generation and transmission, defence production, industrial corridors and parks, railways, roads, ports, shipping and logistics.
The UAE side expressed interest in the coastal surveillance systems developed by India, it said.
The two sides also agreed to further strengthen their mechanisms for exchange of information in tax matters under the existing Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement.
Keeping in view the importance of energy security as a key aspect of the strategic partnership, the two leaders expressed satisfaction at the current level of energy sector cooperation, acknowledging the UAE as among the largest suppliers of crude oil to India.
The two leaders agreed to explore ways to transform the buyer-seller relationship in the energy sector to one of the deeper partnership focusing on investment and joint ventures in petrochemical complexes, and cooperation in joint exploration in India, the UAE and in third countries.
Underlining the ongoing space cooperation, the two leaders agreed that the joint working group established under the ambit of an MoU would meet during 2017 to explore a long-term plan to identify and implement projects of mutual interest. Prime Minister Modi expressed happiness at the UAE's plan to launch a Mars Mission in 2021.
With a strong presence of Indian community in the UAE, the two sides agreed to hold the next Meeting of India-UAE Joint Committee on Manpower Issues in the first half of 2017 and to work towards early conclusion of a revised MoU on labour and manpower.
In a bid to further expand and develop cooperation in the civil aviation sector, the two sides agreed to convene consultations between their respective authorities in the first half of 2017 to discuss key areas of mutual interest.
Other issues discussed included cruise tourism between the two countries and UNSC reforms with Modi thanking the visiting leader for the consistent support expressed by the UAE for India's candidature for permanent membership in a reformed and expanded UN Security Council.
The UAE leader also invited the President and the Prime Minister to visit the UAE at mutually convenient time.