UAE President Sheikh Mohamed visits India for Vibrant Gujarat business summit

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UAE leader head parade and signed energy and food sector deals

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President Sheikh Mohamed arrived in India’s Gujarat state on Tuesday to attend a three-day global business summit and to lead a parade with Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of the event.

The Vibrant Global Gujarat Summit is a biennial investors' international business event aimed at attracting funding and promoting the state. It was devised by Mr Modi in 2003 when he was the state's chief minister.

Sheikh Mohamed arrived in Ahmedabad in the evening and was received by Mr Modi.

They later led a 3km parade from outside Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport to Gandhinagar city, 30km from Ahmedabad, where the summit will take place.

“Landed in Ahmedabad a short while ago. Over the next two days, will be taking part in the Vibrant Gujarat Summit and related programmes,” Mr Modi had earlier said on X on Tuesday.

“It is a matter of immense joy that various world leaders will be joining us during this summit. The coming of my brother Mohamed bin Zayed is very special.”

Sheikh Mohamed visited India in September last year for the G20 Ministers meeting in the capital, New Delhi.

The trip to the South Asian nation follows a state visit to Azerbaijan.

UAE Minister of State for Trade Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi will also take part in the summit, along with a delegation from the Gulf nation's business community.

Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit

The three-day 10th Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit will take place at Mahatma Mandir Convention Centre in Gandhinagar, from January 10.

The summit is themed Gateway to the Future and will involve 34 countries and 16 partner organisations.

There will be seminars and talks on global issues including industry, innovation, sustainable manufacturing, green hydrogen, electric mobility, renewable energy and space technology.

Mr Modi will hold bilateral meetings with world leaders and chief executives of top global corporations.

The summit has evolved into a global platform and, with participation from 135 countries and more than 2,000 exhibitors, has helped the state attract $55 billion in foreign direct investments over the last two decades.

Tesla co-founder Elon Musk will reportedly participate in this year's event.

India-UAE ties

The UAE and India have strong strategic and economic ties, and Mr Modi has further strengthened relations since coming to power in 2014.

The UAE is India’s third-largest trading partner and its second-largest export destination.

The two nations have signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, or Cepa, that helped to grow bilateral trade to $38.6 billion in the first nine months of 2022 – almost double the figure recorded in the same period of 2020.

During Sheikh Mohamed's visit, there were three signed agreements across food parks, health care and the renewable energy sector.

The investment in renewable energy projects is to be implemented in India under the agreement and will reach up to 60 gigawatts.

The transition to clean energy is a priority for India, as it aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2070 and meet 50 per cent of its electricity requirements from renewable energy sources by 2030.

There are plans to increase India's renewable energy capacity to 500 gigawatts, lowering the emissions intensity of its economy by 45 per cent and reducing one billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The two nations have also agreed to develop a series of integrated food parks across India that will incorporate state-of-the-art climate-smart technologies to reduce food waste and spoilage.

The parks will bring together farmers, processors and retailers to minimise waste, conserve water and maximise crop yields.

The nations also agreed to develop projects that have an emphasis on personalised health care based on a person's unique genetic, genomic or biological composition.

A Genomic Centre of Excellence is being reviewed as one of the possible projects under the agreement.

The healthcare sector in India is estimated to be around $372 billion and offers affordable treatment, advanced technology, a wide range of specialities as well as access to international markets.

During Mr Modi's visit to the UAE in July last year, the two nations signed an agreement to settle trade in the Indian currency, rupees, instead of US dollars.

He is scheduled to travel to Abu Dhabi in February to inaugurate the BAPS Hindu Temple and attend a community event at Zayed Stadium.

The Indian diaspora is the largest in the Emirates with 3.5 million Indian nationals living in the UAE in 2021, according India's Ministry of External Affairs.

The Indian community in the UAE works in sectors including finance, education, and health, and as entrepreneurs, white and blue-collar workers, and labourers.

Updated: January 10, 2024, 7:23 AM