India and the United Arab Emirates on Thursday signed a batch of agreements to step up bilateral cooperation in various areas, including insurance, investment, infrastructure, cyber security etc.
The two countries signed a total of seven agreements to step up bilateral cooperation after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
At their restricted as well as delegation-level talks here, the two leaders deliberated extensively on combating threat of terrorism, including from ISIS, and explored ways to enhance bilateral cooperation in counter-terrorism, maritime security and defence.
The pact on cyber space will provide for greater synergy between security agencies of the two countries to combat efforts to radicalise youths through online platforms besides checking activities of terror groups.
Modi had visited UAE in August last year during which it was decided to elevate the relationship to "comprehensive strategic partnership", providing for greater cooperation in strategic areas including defence and security.
Expanding cooperation in the oil sector, UAE's national oil company Adnoc has already agreed to store crude oil in India's maiden strategic storage and give two-third of the oil to it for free.
Another pact was signed for creating a framework for facilitating participation of UAE's institutional investors in India's infrastructure sector while a separate agreement provides for cooperation in the insurance sector.
Another pact between Dubai Economic Council and Export Import Bank of India will be signed in Mumbai today.
UAE has a sovereign wealth fund of around $800 billion and India hopes to attract a sizable investment from it in several key sectors.
Besides, the MoUs signed include those for cooperation in areas of skill development, space and cultural exchanges.
Modi held talks with the Crown deliberated on range of key issues, including threat of ISIS, radicalism and the Mideast situation.
"Productive interaction with HH Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Avenues of India-UAE cooperation are immense," Modi tweeted.
Later, the Crown Prince called President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari, during which the President pointed out that although bilateral trade ties between the two countries are growing satisfactorily, UAE investment in India – of about $3 billion – was far below the existing opportunities and potential.
The President expressed happiness over the establishment of good institutional mechanisms, including a joint commission between India and the UAE and said close collaboration through these institutional dialogues and mechanisms will address pending issues and progress cooperation to the desired levels.
The President recalled that said during the prime minister's visit to the UAE, the two countries had agreed that investment institutions in the UAE would be encouraged to invest in India's infrastructure – including through India-UAE Infrastructure Investment Fund and a target of $75 billion was set for the same. India, he said, looked forward to working together with UAE to achieve this.
The Crown Prince warmly reciprocated the President's views and expressed his desire to create a strong bridge of friendship and cooperation between India and the UAE.