India And UAE to Strengthen Bilateral Ties and to Formulate Free Trade Agreement

India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) virtual summit, which is scheduled to take place on Friday, is an important event, said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

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Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Narendra Modi, India-UAE

"The India UAE virtual summit on 18 February is an important event. India and the UAE have deepened and transformed their bilateral ties significantly over the past few years. We have made substantial progress on some aspects of the free trade agreement," MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi during a weekly press briefing.

"We have made some progress in certain agreements. Once the summit is over tomorrow, we will be in a position to share more details," he added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan are set to hold a virtual summit on Friday where they will discuss bilateral cooperation and exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest.

In recent years, bilateral relations between India and the UAE have strengthened in all areas, and both sides have embarked upon a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Prime Minister visited UAE in 2015, 2018, and 2019 while the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi visited India in 2016 and 2017. Ministerial visits between the two sides have also continued, including three visits of External Affairs Minister and a visit of Commerce and Industry Minister to UAE in 2021, the MEA said.

Both sides have collaborated closely during the Covid-19 pandemic in critical areas of healthcare and food security. Bilateral trade, investment, and energy relations have remained robust. The two sides are also strengthening their cooperation in new areas of renewable energy, start-ups, fintech, etc. India is participating with one of the largest pavilions in the Dubai Expo 2020.

A major initiative in bilateral relations is the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). Negotiations for CEPA were launched in September 2021 and have been completed, the MEA said.

The Agreement will take India-UAE's economic and commercial engagement to the next level. UAE is India's third-largest trade partner, and bilateral trade and investment ties are expected to see significant enhancements.

UAE hosts a large Indian community which numbers close to 3.5 million. Prime Minister has expressed India's appreciation to the leadership of UAE for supporting the Indian community during the pandemic. UAE leadership has also been appreciative of the contribution of the Indian community in its development.

Both sides had agreed on an Air Bubble Arrangement in 2020 during the pandemic which has enabled the movement of people between two countries despite the challenges posed by Covid-19, MEA added.

Free Trade Agreement India-UAE