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Boosting cooperation in energy, digital infra, ports focus of PM Modi's visit to UAE

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NewsDrum Desk
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New Delhi, Feb 12 (PTI) Boosting cooperation in areas of energy, ports, fintech, digital infrastructure, railways and investment flows are set to be focus of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) beginning Tuesday.

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Following talks between Modi and President of the UAE, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the two sides are likely to ink a number of agreements to shore up cooperation in several key areas.

Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra, addressing a press conference, said both sides are looking at firming up understandings in areas of ports, logistics, energy security, energy trade and digital domain, among others.

The Modi-Al Nahyan talks are scheduled to take place on Tuesday.

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"We are also looking to see if we can arrive at an understanding on investments in the field of digital infrastructure, arrangements for the protection and promotion of capital flows," he said.

Kwatra said there may be some understanding for cooperation in the domains of ports and maritime sphere.

"Since the digital cooperation between our two economies is an important element of the partnership, we are also looking to see if we can arrive at an understanding on investments in the field of digital infrastructure," he said.

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Kwatra said the two sides are also examining possible cooperation in the areas of maritime heritage as well as on fintech products and railways.

"Currently the two sides are busy discussing various agreements that could be finalised during the visit," Kwatra said, adding he was not in a position to share more details.

It would be the prime minister's seventh visit to the UAE since 2015, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Saturday, announcing the trip.

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Modi and Al Nahyan are also likely to exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest.

The prime minister will also meet with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the vice president, prime minister and defence minister of the UAE.

At his invitation, the prime minister will participate in the World Government Summit 2024 on Wednesday in Dubai as the guest of honour and deliver a special keynote address at the summit.

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Modi will also inaugurate the BAPS Mandir, the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi.

The prime minister is scheduled to address the Indian community in the UAE at an event in Zayed Sports City.

Following the landmark visit of Modi to the UAE in August 2015, bilateral relations between the two countries were elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

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Both countries signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in February 2022 and a Local Currency Settlement (LCS) System in July 2023 to promote the use of Indian Rupee and AED (United Arab Emirates Dirham) for cross-border transactions.

The two countries are among each other's top trading partners with a bilateral trade of about USD 85 billion in 2022-23, according to official data.

The UAE is also among the top four investors in India in terms of foreign direct investments in 2022-23.

About 3.5 million strong and vibrant Indian community forms the largest expatriate group in the UAE.

The UAE was invited as special invitee for G20 during India's Presidency of the grouping.

In Feb 2023, the India-UAE-France (UFI) trilateral was formally launched.

With India's active support, the UAE joined SCO as dialogue partner in May 2023. The UAE also joined BRICS as a member on January 1 with India's support.

The India-UAE defence cooperation is also on an upswing in the last few years.

In January 2024, the first India-UAE bilateral army exercise 'Desert Cyclone' was held in Rajasthan. PTI MPB KVK KVK

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