India's Narendra Modi meets UAE President in visit to Abu Dhabi

Mr Modi was received by President Sheikh Mohamed for talks on bilateral relations

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Abu Dhabi on Saturday for an official visit.

Mr Modi met with President Sheikh Mohamed for wide-ranging talks on bilateral relations on Saturday afternoon.

"I had the pleasure of welcoming Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Abu Dhabi today," President Sheikh Mohamed said in a tweet.

"We discussed the ongoing progress of our bilateral ties, our shared interest in promoting sustainable global growth, and ways to further boost collaboration between our countries and our people."

This is Mr Modi's fifth visit to the UAE since he was elected.

The Indian Prime Minister touched down in Abu Dhabi at 9.15am and was received by Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, along with senior delegates including Khaldoon Al Mubarak, chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority.

He received the Guard of Honour at the Presidential Palace.

Sheikh Mohamed and Prime Minister Modi held wide-ranging talks on matters of mutual interest including global issues concerning Cop28 and India's G20 presidency.

"It is always gladdening to meet HH Sheikh Mahamed. His energy and vision for development are admirable," Mr Modi tweeted on Saturday soon after the visit.

UAE President hosts reception for India's Narendra Modi in Abu Dhabi

UAE President hosts reception for India's Narendra Modi in Abu Dhabi

He also met with Dr Sultan Al Jaber, President-delegate of the Cop28 climate change and discussed further enhancing cooperation between the UAE and India on "delivering ambitious and inclusive outcomes at Cop28".

"Our discussions focused on ways to further sustainable development," tweeted Mr Modi.

A special vegetarian banquet lunch was also hosted in the Indian Prime Minister's honour.

A note on the menu card for the banquet read "all meals are vegetarian and prepared with vegetable oils, and contain no dairy or egg products," the Indian media reported.

The visit also saw delegation-level talk on strengthening bilateral cooperation in key areas including trade, energy, defence and food security.

The UAE and India entered into a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Cepa) trade deal in May 2022.

The agreement saw a reduction, or in some cases a waiving, of tariffs on more than 80 per cent of UAE goods which were imported to India.

A joint committee was established between the nations to improve market access and assess, revise and propose amendments to the Cepa.

The first meeting of the joint committee saw a target being set of of $100 billion in non-oil trade by 2030.

Bilateral non-oil trade between the UAE and India reached $50.5 billion, a 5.8 per cent annual increase, in the first 12 months of the agreement, The National reported in June.

Mr Modi flew in from France after a two-day state visit where he was a guest of honour at the Bastille Day Parade on Friday.

Mr Modi left for Delhi in the evening after what he called a "productive UAE visit."

"Our nations are working together on so many issues- aimed at making our planet better. I thank HH Mohamed bin Zayed for the warm hospitality," he said concluding his six-hour visit.

Indian ambassador to the UAE Sanjay Sudhir told The National that it was a “historic visit”.

“The last few years have witnessed a significant transformation in India-UAE relations, and a central driver of this has been the vision of the two leaders,” said Mr Sudhir.

“Bilateral trade is currently at a very strong $85 billion, making the UAE India's third-largest trading partner, and India's second-largest export destination.

“Also, very substantial sums of foreign direct investment flows from UAE to India. The UAE is the fourth-largest overall investor in India.”

The envoy said the UAE and India have strong links in the field of energy security. Several new areas of partnership and engagement have also registered strong progress including renewables, health, food security, education, fintech, and defence and security.

New agreements signed during visit

There were new agreements, between the two nations, signed during Mr Modi's visit on Saturday afternoon.

These included the establishment of a framework for the use of local currencies for cross-border transactions and cooperation for interlinking payment and messaging systems.

The agreement hopes to see the establishment of a a local currency settlement system (LCSS) to promote the use of the Indian rupee and the dirham bilaterally, the RBI said in a statement on its website.

Updated: July 16, 2023, 10:37 AM