Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed sounds closing bell on successful trip to India

MUMBAI // Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, travelled to India’s economic capital on Friday as he concluded a three-day visit that has laid the groundwork for increased bilateral cooperation and investment. Sheikh Mohammed visited India’s main bourse, the Bombay Stock Exchange, where […]

MUMBAI // Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, travelled to India’s economic capital on Friday as he concluded a three-day visit that has laid the groundwork for increased bilateral cooperation and investment.

Sheikh Mohammed visited India’s main bourse, the Bombay Stock Exchange, where the chief executive suggested that his presence may have helped stem the impact on India of turbulence in markets worldwide.

On Thursday “our own markets at the BSE went down by almost 3.5 per cent”, said Ashish Chauhan.

That fall was “perhaps” stopped by Sheikh Mohammed’s arrival, he said, drawing a round of applause from an audience that included a UAE delegation of ministers and business leaders.

Mr Chauhan, who is also managing director of the BSE, said India’s markets would likely be buoyed by UAE plans to invest in the country.

“Today, as India accelerates economic reforms and improves its investment and business environment, and the UAE becomes an increasingly advanced and diversified economy, the two countries have potential to build a transformative economic partnership,” he said.

The BSE’s main index closed 0.15 per cent higher on Friday.

The Crown Prince’s visit at the invitation of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi saw the two countries reaching a number of agreements in areas including trade and infrastructure.

“Recognising the need to further develop and strengthen the historical links that bind the UAE and India, the two leaders agreed to build a partnership for the 21st century anchored in values of respect, mutual understanding, and dynamic cooperation,” the UAE and India said in a joint statement on Friday.

After two days in New Delhi, Sheikh Mohammed flew into Mumbai on Friday morning. In the afternoon he visited the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), where he rang the closing bell.

The Crown Prince was greeted by Mr Modi on his arrival on Wednesday with a delegation of seven ministers and 60 UAE-based entrepreneurs – 40 of Indian origin and the remaining 20 Emirati.

The two leaders signed a raft of agreements on Thursday, including a cultural cooperation treaty to protect national heritage, a framework to facilitate the UAE’s investments in Indian infrastructure, and cooperation in space exploration, renewable energy, and skill development.

The joint statement said “Sheikh Mohammed expressed confidence in India’s dynamic economy and appreciation for Mr Modi’s impressive vision for the future of the country”. It commended the Indian leader’s initiatives to boost manufacturing and develop smart cities, “noting their strong potential to provide India’s US$2 trillion (Dh7.3) economy a positive impetus for growth, and to accelerate progress in bilateral cooperation between the two countries”.

The UAE and India, which are among each other’s largest trading partners, have outlined plans to increase the value of bilateral trade by 60 per cent, to $100 billion, by 2020. Sheikh Mohammed’s visit to India follows Mr Modi’s trip to the UAE last year, which resulted in a $75bn fund to support investment in Indian infrastructure being announced.

The UAE Minister of Economy Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, who accompanied Sheikh Mohammed, said he noticed “the start of a new form of relationship at a different level” between the two countries and their leaders when Mr Modi visited the UAE.

Mr Al Mansoori said the UAE was looking at how it could “build up a strategic relationship when it comes to investment, including manufacturing, including food security, including aviation”.

Mr Modi has “invited the UAE to be a partner in India’s growth story, and to participate in projects creating mega-industrial manufacturing corridors, including the Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor”, Friday’s joint statement said.

It added that the UAE “noted its interest in investing in infrastructure development in India, especially in priority areas such as railways, roads, ports, and shipping”.

India, meanwhile, conveyed the interest of its companies to contribute their expertise to infrastructure projects in the UAE, including those being undertaken for the World Expo 2020 in Dubai.

In addition, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and the Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves are to sign a memorandum of understanding “on the establishment of a strategic petroleum reserve in India, and agreed to conclude negotiations in the near future”, the statement said.

India and the UAE have also “agreed to strengthen their strategic partnership by continuing to work closely together on a range of security issues, particularly on counter-terrorism, maritime security, and cybersecurity”, it added.

The Crown Prince concluded his visit on Friday evening with a reception at the Taj Palace hotel that was attended by Mumbai’s elite including the industrialist Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man.

* foreign.desk@thenational.ae

Source: uae news

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