DUBAI // Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, reviewed economic and political ties with the Indian prime minister in New Delhi yesterday. During the meeting, Sheikh Mohammed and Dr Manmohan Singh talked about ways to bring about peace and stability in the region and ensure people have access to health care, education and decent living standards, especially in areas of conflict, according to a statement issued on Sheikh Mohammed's official website.
The two leaders also discussed ways to enhance co-operation between the UAE and India and "to strengthen the bonds of friendship between their countries and peoples". The Indian prime minister welcomed Sheikh Mohammed's visit, his first in three years, describing it as a continuation in a series of relationship-building meetings between their countries. Yesterday's talks were attended by Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed, the Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, the president of the Dubai Civil Aviation and chairman of the Emirates Group, Mohammed Ibrahim al Shaibani, the director of the office of the Ruler of Dubai, Mohammed al Owais, the UAE's Ambassador to India and a number of Indian officials.
Sheikh Mohammed arrived at New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport in the afternoon, where he was met by Shashi Tharoor, the Indian minister of state for external affairs, Mr al Owais and a number of senior embassy and Indian officials. Following the discussions with Dr Singh, Sheikh Mohammed returned to the UAE yesterday, leaving his high-level delegation behind to continue the discussions.
Sanjay Verma, the Indian consul general in Dubai, said yesterday that the meetings were to explore "ways to further enhance ties by looking at new ways to take the strategic partnership ahead". "Security co-operation and issues related to terrorism were also discussed," said Mr Verma. Bilateral and regional concerns were also on the agenda. India and the UAE have been close trading partners for decades and have shared strong economic and cultural ties. Mr Verma said that in the past financial year, trade between the two countries was worth US$48.26 billion (Dh176bn), making the Emirates India's top trading partner.
Annual remittances from the GCC stand at $30bn, of which more than $10bn comes from the UAE's Indian population of more than 1.5 million. Sheikh Mohammed made his first official visit to India as Vice President and Prime Minister in March 2007. The visit resulted in the signing of five agreements in the areas of trade, business, strategic and cultural ties. This was followed in May 2008 by a visit by to the UAE by Pranab Mukherjee, the external affairs minister for India, to discuss military ties.