PM Modi and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan will hold a virtual summit to sign the first-ever bilateral Free Trade Agreement between the two countries today.
The FTA -- Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) is expected to be a priority as countries will "discuss bilateral cooperation and exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest," said a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs.
UAE is India's third-largest trade partner, and bilateral trade and investment ties will see significant enhancements if CEPA comes through. India and the UAE are trying to renew trade to a pre-pandemic level of $60 billion. UAE investments in India are almost $17 billion compared to $3 billion in 2014.
"Both leaders are expected to lay out their vision of the historic and friendly relations between the two countries, at a time when India is celebrating 75 years of its Independence as Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav and UAE is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its foundation," stated a press statement by the Ministry of External Affairs.
UAE hosts a large Indian community of close to 3.5 million. "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," said MEA statement.
MEA statement also highlighted that UAE was one of the foreign countries that had displayed interest in investing in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
MEA, in its statement, said that the UAE helped in the overflight of Rafales from France to India. The Indian Army Chief and the Chief of Air Staff visited UAE in December 2020 and August 2021, respectively. India also had significant participation in IDEX and NAVDEX 2021 exhibitions in Abu Dhabi.
Further, India participated at the Dubai Expo and was allotted one of the biggest plots, and gained the right to retain the Indian Pavilion after the Expo.
The meeting coincides with the visit of UAE's Minister of Economy, Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, to New Delhi to negotiate an early conclusion of the free trade pact.
(With inputs from Geeta Mohan)
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