Among India’s strategic partnerships, none displays more convergence and mutual respect than the one with the United Arab Emirates. Critically examine.


  • PM Modi is scheduled to visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from February 13-14, 2024. This is Mr.
  • Modi’s seventh visit to the UAE since 2015 and the third in the last eight months.


  • Introduce your answer by emphasizing UAE’s significance for India’s engagement in the West Asia.
  • In the main body, first highlight the areas of convergence like economic partnership, energy security, defence and security, international cooperation, etc. Then talk about the reasons for the mutual respect like appreciation and recognition of roles, shared vision for the future, etc. Next talk about the areas that require further attention like economic diversification, people-to-people ties, etc.
  • Conclude by highlighting the potential of the ties for a more prosperous and stable future for both nations and the wider region.


In recent years, the strategic partnership between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has witnessed remarkable growth, evolving into a comprehensive and multifaceted relationship. UAE has become one of the most important linchpins of India’s engagement in the West Asia.

Areas of Convergence in India-UAE Ties:

  • Economic Partnership: The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and the UAE, which came into effect in May 2022, aims to increase bilateral trade to $100 billion within five years.
    • Bilateral trade soared to $85 billion in 2022-23, with the UAE becoming India’s third-largest trading partner.
  • Investment: The UAE’s substantial investments in India’s infrastructure, technology, and renewable energy sectors highlight the confidence in India’s economic growth potential.
    • UAE committed to invest $75 billion in India’s infrastructure development.
  • Energy Security: The UAE is a key supplier of oil to India. Both countries have resolved to increase UAE’s investment in India’s strategic petroleum reserves and extend it to green hydrogen, solar energy, and grid connectivity.
  • Defence and Security: The two nations have agreed to strengthen maritime cooperation, and connectivity, collaboration on counter-terrorism efforts and enhance defence exchanges, training, and capacity building.
    • UAE categorically stated that Kashmir is India’s internal issue and also backs India’s CCIT.
  • Digital and Fintech Collaboration: The acceptance of RuPay cards in the UAE and the establishment of a rupee-dirham payment system, enhances trade efficiency and reduces dependency on dollar.
  • Healthcare and Food Security: The recent initiatives under the I2U2 framework, address food security and healthcare challenges.
    • The UAE will invest $2 billion to set up food parks across India.
  • Diaspora Engagement: The Indian community in the UAE, numbering over 3.5 million, acts as a bridge between the two countries, contributing to their economic development and acting as cultural ambassadors.
  • International Cooperation: Collaboration in international forums including support for India’s G-20 and UAE’s COP 28 initiatives, demonstrate their aligned interests on global issues.
  • Multilateral Engagement: with the IMEC Corridor, BRICS expansion, and collaborations in I2U2 and India-France-UAE trilateral.

Mutual Respect between India-UAE:

  • Recognition of Roles: India acknowledges UAE’s significant influence in the Middle Eastern region, while the UAE appreciates India’s emerging global leadership.
  • Strategic Partnership Growth: Both nations have a shared vision for the future and view their collaboration being beneficial not just bilaterally but also for regional and global stability.
  • High-Level Exchanges and Honors: The frequent high-level visits and conferment of the civilian honours, exemplify the mutual respect.
    • PM has been conferred with the UAE’s highest civilian honour, the Order of Zayed.

Areas that require further attention:

  • Broader Inclusivity: there is room to expand collaboration in areas like technology transfer, climate change, and renewable energy, ensuring a more comprehensive strategic partnership.
  • Addressing Regional Conflicts: India and the UAE could enhance dialogue and cooperation on addressing regional conflicts and promoting peace in Middle East.
  • Economic Diversification: Beyond trade and energy, there’s potential to explore new areas like healthcare, education, and technology for a more diversified economic relationship.
  • People-to-People Ties: Enhancing cultural exchanges and addressing the welfare of the Indian diaspora in the UAE could further cement the relationship.

The India-UAE strategic partnership is a beacon of mutual respect, shared interests, and common goals in the region. It can pave the way for a more prosperous and stable future for both nations and the wider region.

‘+1’ Value Addition:

  • UAE is the fourth largest investment partner of India and the first foreign country to invest in J&K.
  • A MoU was signed to establish a campus of IIT Delhi in Abu Dhabi.
  • The inauguration of Hindu temples in the UAE (BAPS Temple) signify the deep cultural respect and people-to-people bond between the two countries.
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