NEW DELHI: As PM Narendra Modi prepares to travel to Abu Dhabi for his second state visit to the UAE, the investment and economic ties between the two countries are slowly gathering steam.

An India-UAE investment task force met in Abu Dhabi last week to work on new investment ideas and solve the knotty problems left over by some of the older UAE investments in India. Led by commerce minister Suresh Prabhu and chairman of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) Sheikh Hamid bin Zayed al Nahyan, the task force is looking to facilitate over $1billion into India in the coming months.

“UAE has invested over $10 billion in India, of which $4 billion is in FDI,” UAE’s envoy Ahmed Albanna told reporters on Monday. Albanna said the embassy had developed a mobile app to ease work visas for Indians travelling to the UAE. The app, currently in English and Hindi, would be available in Malayalam soon.

Albanna said, “Over 1.6 million Indians visited the UAE last year. More than 55% Indians use UAE airports and airlines to travel out of India, a 25% increase.” But it’s the growing investment story that is lifting the relationship. Sources said it was after the first announcement of $75 billion that India began to work on the challenge of its own administrative and regulatory rules.

Also, there were the “legacy issues” — dogged investments by Emaar Group, DP World and Etisalat — that had turned the UAE sour on India. Albanna said the recent investment meeting had led to a major breakthrough towards the solution of problems faced by DP World. “It is on the cusp of finalisation,” a source said.

Other sources affirmed DP World would soon announce a $3billion investment through the National Infrastructure Investment Fund into ports and inland waterways in India.

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