India and UAE share indispensable relationship, says Indian foreign minister

Sushma Swaraj said both countries shared a strategic and security partnership

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - March 01, 2019: Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj speaks to Adel Al Jubeir, Saudi Minister of State for foreign affairs at the OIC Ministerial Meeting. Friday the 1st of March 2019 at Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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The relationship between India and the UAE is built on strong economic and political ties, and is indispensable New Delhi’s foreign minister told the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation in Abu Dhabi.

Sushma Swaraj said both countries shared a strategic and security partnership, and a natural economic relationship of immense value.

“In the past four years, few relationships have seen as much engagement as India’s relationship with UAE and, indeed, with the entire Gulf and West Asia region,” she said.

Mrs Swaraj described the Gulf region as India’s largest supplier of energy and source of remittances.

“More than 8 million Indians living in the region are the 8 million vibrant threads of this partnership,” she said.

“But now our relationship is much more than that, thanks to the extraordinary effort and attention by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the leadership of the region.”

Ms Swaraj also raised the issue of terrorism, saying the OIC must ask “the states who provide shelter and funding to the terrorists, to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorist camps and stop providing shelter and funding to the terrorist organisations based in their country”.

Mrs Swaraj’s made her comments after days of tensions between India and Pakistan about warplanes crossing into each other’s airspace above the disputed province of Kashmir.

Pakistan decided to boycott the OIC conference in protest at the Indian foreign minister being honoured.

“I am particularly pleased to participate in a conference, whose theme is a road map for prosperity and development,” Mrs Swaraj said in her opening remarks to the conference.

“However, I may enter a caveat. The young are not going to be content with only road maps. They want roads as well. They also want them to be built fast.”

Economic growth and social justice would be the key to build such a world for them, she said.

“That is the mission, which has brought us together in Abu Dhabi – a city that has matured into a landmark of Asia and the world.”

Mrs Swaraj also said India was prepared to share its fast-growing expertise in various fields.

“India is the world’s third-largest economy on purchasing power parity, and is the fastest growing one.

“We are prepared to share our market, resources, opportunities and skills with our partners,” she said.

“We will do what we can within our capacity to ensure that the path to development remains open to all and the global trade regime is open, stable and fair.”

The foreign minister also reminded OIC member states of their huge responsibility to “lift humanity to a higher level of peace and prosperity, and to make this planet a better place, not just for your people, but for rest of the world”.