NEW DELHI: The ambitious plan of India and UAE to sign a pact for setting up a $ 75 billion investment fund did not materialise on Wednesday, but the two countries did sign 14 agreements including three on defence.
Another important agreement that the two countries inked after delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Supreme Commander of its armed forces Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has been to set up a framework for the storage of crude oil by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company in India.
This is the second state visit for Nahyan and he is only the third dignitary from the Middle East in the last 70 years to become the Chief Guest at the annual Republic Day parade.
Despite the elaborate set of agreements signed, a not coming through of the MoU on the $ 75 billion investment fund has been a bit of dampener. A Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) official told the New Indian Express: “At first we are deciding sectors. So agreements on defence, maritime and transport signed. They need more time to study the documents shared with them.”
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Tuesday had announced that “during the visit, we are hoping to sign a MoU between their investment fund and our National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), which will put in place a framework as to how the fund will be administered and which all sectors it can be invested in.”
India’s hobnobbing with the UAE, a key defence ally of Pakistan, is part of India’s stratagem to counter balance the advantage of Islamabad’s card of religion in the region. “We also feel that our growing engagement in countering violence and extremism is necessary for securing our societies… They are also of significance to the entire neighbourhood.
Our convergence can help stabilize the region,” Prime Minister Modi said in a joint conference with the Abu Dhabi crown prince.
Security and defence cooperation have also added new dimensions to the bilateral ties. “We have agreed to expand our useful cooperation in the field of defence to new areas including in the maritime domain,” Modi added.
The MoU between Indian Defence Ministry and its UAE counterpart aims to identify fields for cooperation in defence manufacturing and technology, including through studies, research, development, innovation and cooperation between public and private sector institutions of the two countries. The two sides will cooperate in areas of armaments, defence industries and transfer of technology.