Perhaps no sign could be deeper or more obvious than the five consecutive visits of UAE’s foreign minister to India in the last five years to indicate the level of relationship, both the countries are enjoying. The three day visit of His Highness Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan,UAE’s minster of foreign affairs and international cooperation to India between 7-9 July, 2019 was the fifth in a row in last five years which, no doubt, would further deepen the existing level relationship and provide new orientation to take the historic, cultural and political connection to a new height. It all had begun when Prime Mister Modi visited UAE in 2015 which was the first visit to this Gulf nation in thirty four years by any Prime Minister of India . This was during his visit in 2015 when both had entered into era of strategic partnership. The UAE is also the first country to participate in India’s Strategic Petroleum Re save Program. The current visit of foreign minister who also holds the portfolio of minster for international cooperation would help in diversifying the current template of relationship.
The foreign minister of the UAE is accompanied by a high-level business delegation which is indicative of their growing economic engagement; today India is the third largest trade partner of the UAE and fourth biggest importer of energy from one of the important GCC nations. It is worth recalling here that UAE also hosts the strongest Indian Diaspora which numbers around 3.3 million and they have played a very instrumental role in the overall developments of the UAE
During his three-day stay in the country, Mr. Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan met his Indian counterpart Dr. Jaishankar, a diplomat-turned foreign minister and both leaders discussed the bilateral issues related to trade and investment, defense and security, energy security and counter-terrorism and people to people contact. The foreign minister of the UAE apprised Dr. Jaishankar about the political developments in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen and they also discussed the current global political and strategic scenario. Combating terrorism has been a major threat of the India-UAE bilateral ties and once again they reiterated that this menace of terrorism needs to be fought by all means and in all forms.
The visiting foreign minister,in his last leg of the meetings, called upon Prime Minster Modi who has come to power second time and both reiterated their commitments to take the relationship to new level. Both sides in this meeting discussed the areas of cooperation between two countries and ways to boost them further in various other sectors to cherish the aspiration of the their respective countries. Mr. Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan had met Prime Minister Modi in June 2018 as well when he was in New Delhi to attend a joint workshop organized by ministry of petroleum and natural gas. Before that, he was in New Delhi in 2016 and 2017 while accompanying the Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. There has been a constant momentum between India-UAE ties in recent years and what came as a major booster was when the UAE, being the chair of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation invited India to be ‘Guest of Honor’ in the 46th Council of Foreign Ministers meeting of OIC in March 2019.
This visit has shown that an era of active engagement with the Arab world in general and the Gulf region in particular enunciated by Prime Minster Modi is going to continue furthering the relations with the Gulf nations nurtured in recent years would be taken to a higher trajectory. India has a well-defined policy towards its extended neighbors and has an effective blueprint to secure its economic and strategic interest in the region. In addition, this visit was a courtesy visit by the foreign minister of UAE to convey a message that foundation of strong ties laid under the first tenure of Prime Minister Modi would continue without any changes in future as well.
Script: Dr. Fazzur Rahman Siddiqui, Strategic Analyst On West Asia