The Indian prime minister has invited investors from the UAE, saying his country has an immediate investment opportunity of $1 trillion.
“On one hand, India is growing fast and, on the other hand, the world is looking at Asia. But is Asia complete without the UAE? I can clearly see that the UAE should be at the centre of the mainstream of things in Asia. UAE’s power and India’s potential can make it Asia’s century,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a two-day visit to the UAE.
While addressing a delegation of investors in Masdar City, a hub of cleantech and S&T innovation, the PM Modi said his government will take urgent steps to address concerns of the businessmen from the Arab country. Some UAE-based business firms had raised concern over complex processes for doing business in India and they had stressed the need for single-window clearance for investments.
“I will send my commerce minister to try and find solutions to the problems faced by some UAE investors,” he said.
Many see the visit, which is the first such trip by the premier of the world’s second-most populous nation to its third-largest trading partner in 34 years, as a major step in the trade relations of the both countries.
India-UAE trade was valued at $180 million when the PM Indira Gandhi came to the UAE in 1981. It has since swelled enormously to nearly $60 billion now, with India being the second largest trading partner of the UAE for the year 2014. Just the non-oil trade reached more than $28bn.
On the other hand, the UAE was India’s third-largest trading partner for the year 2014-15, after China and the US.
With a headcount of more than 2.6m, Indians constitute a whopping 30 per cent of the UAE’s population and their annual remittance, which is estimated to be nearly $14bn, is 20 per cent of India’s total remittances.
The visit is also significant as bilateral trade fell by $16bn during the past two years, a drop from its peak level of $75.45bn in 2012-13 to $59.04bn in 2014-15.
Ahead of his visit, the PM spoke highly of the ties between the two countries in a Facebook post and said the UAE “is a global economic success story that has attracted people from all over the world”. He added that it has “emerged as an important logistics hub”.
“During my visit, I seek to enhance cooperation in energy trade, and will talk to investors on why India is an attractive destination to invest,” wrote the PM.
The major companies in the UAE have large investment in India, with the UAE being the tenth-biggest source of foreign direct investment. Emaar, DP World, Abu Dhabi’s National Petroleum Construction Company, Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, among others, have operations in the country.