UAE Crown Prince to be India's Republic Day chief guest
UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan will be the Chief Guest at this year's Republic Day parade; for the first time, a marching band from the UAE's defence forces will join the parade on Republic Day. India and the UAE will also hold the first bilateral strategic dialogue. The UAE expressed interest in investing in India's infrastructure sector.
The United Arab Emirates is located in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula, bordering Oman to the east and Saudi Arabia to the south. Established in 1971, it is a federation of seven states, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain. UAE has a population of 9.2 million, of which 1.4 million are Emirati citizens and 7.8 million are expatriates.
UAE is home to almost 2.6 million Indians. Professionally qualified Indians constitute 15-20% of the community, followed by 20% white-collar non-professionals and the remainder 65% comprises blue-collar workers. The Indian community in the UAE makes annual remittances of over $15 billion.
India's major export items to UAE include petroleum products, precious metals, stones, gems and jewellery, minerals, cereals, sugar, fruits & vegetables, tea, meat, and seafood, garments, apparel, synthetic fibre, cotton, yarn, engineering & machinery products and chemicals. India primarily imports petroleum, petroleum products and wood products from the UAE. UAE is one of the largest exporters of crude oil to India.
The total FDI from UAE to India is estimated to be $3.01 billion as of January 2015. It is ranked as the 10th biggest investor in India. A majority of these investments is seen in the infrastructure sector.
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit in September 2015, bilateral ties between India and UAE began shifting toward security co-operation as well. Modi had announced during his visit that he sought to elevate Indo-UAE ties to that of a comprehensive economic partnership. In this regard, several agreements on co-operation in the fields of security, nuclear energy and space were to be signed.
The UAE had planned to send a military paratrooper team for a live display during the Republic Day parade. However, Indian security agencies rejected the proposal saying there were security concerns and that the weather could be unfavourable for the move.
The first bilateral Indo-UAE strategic security dialogue could see both sides discuss ways to improve co-ordination in counter-terrorism. The two sides are also likely to discuss means of effectively combating money laundering, drug trafficking and trans-national crimes. India and UAE have also agreed to set up a dialogue between their National Security Advisers and their National Security Councils.
India and the UAE had earlier agreed to improve defence relations through regular exercises and training of naval, air, land and special forces, and in coastal defence. Cyber security co-operation was also agreed to. UAE also expressed interest in manufacturing defence equipment in India.