UAE and Indian foreign ministers hold video conference to discuss the two countries’ cooperation in many fields.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, on Monday chaired the 13th meeting of the ‘UAE-India Joint Committee’, which was held through video conference.
Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs of India, chaired the Indian side.
Sheikh Abdullah began his speech by extending sincere condolences to the Government and people of India for the unfortunate loss of lives in the tragic Air India Express plane crash earlier this month, praying to Allah the Almighty to rest their souls rest in peace and saying May God grant their families patience and strength.
“On behalf of the UAE Government and people, I would also like to express the deepest solidarity with the grieved families of the victims who passed away because of the recent flooding and Covid-19 infections in India, wishing all those infected a speedy recovery. May our two friendly nations remain prosperous, safe, and healthy,” he added.
Sheikh Abdullah extended greetings to Dr Jaishankar and to the government and people of India on the occasion of India’s Independence Day anniversary, which was celebrated on Saturday.
He then welcomed the Indian External Affairs Minister and members of the Indian delegation to the 13th Joint Committee Meeting between the UAE and India.
“The efforts undertaken by both sides in ensuring this meeting took place in light of the current global health situation affirms the deep bonds of friendship that exist between our two countries’ leadership and people, as well as both sides’ keenness to enhance mutual cooperation and promote bilateral relations in various sectors of common interest.”
The UAE, he continued, has a strong and distinguished relationship with India. The diplomatic relations between the two countries were launched in 1972, which paved the way for bilateral cooperation in various sectors, within the framework of mutual respect and commonalities at political, economic and cultural levels, all of which were reflected through the signature of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement between the two countries in 2017.
Sheikh Abdullah underlined the strong ties between the two countries, saying: “The UAE sees in the Republic of India a friend and a strategic partner that joins the UAE in its efforts to establish pillars of peace and security at regional and international levels. The two countries coordinate and exchange views on the most prominent geopolitical issues and developments in the region and the world, all of which are on the basis of mutual understanding and trust and an appreciation of the expected repercussions on political and economic interests for both sides.”
“The UAE-India’s strategic relations have once again proven their superiority to face the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic implications. The past months showed exceptional cooperation between the two sides in all priority sectors, notably civil aviation, food security, energy and health. Indeed, this cooperation is an example to follow between partners at the regional and global levels.
“In this context, I would like to commend the exceptional flights that have been organised to secure the safe return of the citizens of the two countries, in addition to the continued smooth flow of food commodities and medical supplies between the two sides. I would like to also commend the fruitful cooperation between the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) and the Indian side in the field of securing energy supplies,” he stated.
Sheikh Abudullah pointed out that thanks to the wise vision of the UAE’s leadership and the constructive cooperation with its partners, especially India, the UAE has managed to accomplish many remarkable achievements to combat the coronavirus.
He said the UAE has managed to conduct one of the largest number of Covid-19 tests globally, providing humanitarian assistances to more than 108 countries, with more than a million workers in the health sector around the world. Most recently, the UAE has started the clinical trial phase of one of the potential vaccines to prevent the virus.
He also indicated that the UAE-India joint efforts have resulted in significant progress in the economic relations between the two sides. It resulted in a steady increase in the total bilateral trade volume over the past years. In particular, the bilateral total trade value has increased from around $50 billion (Dh217 billion) between 2017-2018 to about $60 billion dollars (Dh220 billion) between 2018-2019, at an annual rate of 20 per cent.
“This represents a great incentive to achieve more growth in trade flows and economic cooperation in priority areas,” he noted.
“I also stress that the investment relations between the two sides are no less important than the commercial relations, but, rather are complementary to them. I commend, in this regard, the legal facilities provided recently by the Indian Government to UAE investments, in addition to the great progress made by the Republic of India in the ease of the business report issued by the World Bank. I hope that these developments will positively and tangibly reflect on the UAE investments in India, as well as on the investment and trade flows between the two sides.”
Sheikh Abdullah highlight the importance of the ‘UAE-India High Level Task Force on Investments’. He urged both sides to further strengthen cooperation through this platform to increase the volume of mutual investments in the sectors of food security, healthcare, education, pharmaceutical industry, and technology; to study opportunities for investing in third countries, and to discuss cooperation in fields that attract investments like civil aviation, tourism, and international cooperation.
He referred to discussions on promoting UAE-India economic relations, saying that they go hand in hand with developing civil aviation relations between the two countries given that this sector constitutes the main artery for commercial, investment, tourism and cultural cooperation between the public and private sectors on both sides.
“I therefore urge the two countries’ civil aviation authorities to strengthen coordination to return the air movements, to discuss ways to overcome the challenges that stand in the way of achieving the optimal level of air transport relations between the two countries, and to consider this within the broader framework of bilateral relations in various areas of common interest.
“I extend my appreciation to India for their invaluable support for the UAE in light of its Chairing of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (Iora) for the period 2019-2021, as well as India’s backing for the UAE’s candidate for the Secretary-General position in the Association for the period 2021-2024, and the UAE’s UNSC membership nomination for 2022-2023. This reflects the depth and solidarity of the bilateral relations between the two countries.”
In this regard, we seek India’s support for the following UAE nominations: Presidency of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) for the term 2021-2024; Presidency of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (Iucn) for the term 2021-2025; the UAE’s candidacy for Membership in the Human Rights Council for the period 2022-2024; Membership of the Council of Administration of the Universal Postal Union for the term 2021-2024; and Membership of the Postal Operations Council of the Universal Postal Union for the term 2021-2024.
Sheikh Abdullah concluded his speech by saying: “I would like to commend the outcomes of the Committee’s work, and to thank all the participants for their efforts during the preparatory meetings, calling upon both sides to follow up on these outcomes, and to move forward in implementing the bilateral initiatives aimed at strengthening our relations.”
For his part, the Indian minister of External Affairs praised his country’s close relations of friendship and strategic cooperation with the UAE and emphasised his keenness to develop them in a way that will meet aspirations of the two countries’ leaderships and benefit their people.
Dr Jaishankar congratulated Sheikh Abdullah for the two historic milestones achieved by the UAE recently: the successful launch of the Hope Probe to Mars and the successful operation of Unit 1 of Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant.
He also thanked Sheikh Abdullah for the support given to the members of the Indian community amid the Covid-19 pandemic. He commended the UAE’ efforts to facilitate repatriation of the Indian residents wishing to return to their country during pandemic.
On Covid-19, Sheikh Abdullah and Dr Jaishankar underscored that joint coordination and cooperation between the two friendly countries will continue – even within international organisations – to confront the repercussions of the pandemic, especially in sectors like health and medicines.
He said India is looking forward to participating in the Dubai Expo 2020, while Sheikh Abdullah wished special participation by India in the international event which will be hosted by the UAE host next year.
Sheikh Abdullah and the Minister of External Affairs of India also discussed a number of regional and international issues of common concern, including Libya and Iran, and the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.
The Indian minister reiterated his country’s welcome to the peace treaty between the UAE and Israel, stressing that both countries are major strategic partners of India.
Sheikh Abdullah expressed his thanks to Dr Jaishankar, praising the support of the friendly Republic of India for efforts aimed at achieving security, stability, peace and prosperity in the region.
At the end the meeting, the two minister signed minutes of the 13th Session of the India-UAE Joint Commission Meeting.
The meeting was attended by Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, UAE Minister of State; Abdul Nasser Al Shaali, Assistant Minister of Economic and Trade Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates; Dr Ahmed Al Banna, the UAE Ambassador to India, Pavan Kapoor, Ambassador of India to the UAE; and several officials from both countries.