The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, to be signed during a virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan on Friday, is a pathbreaking pact which will unleash the economic potential between India and the UAE, Indian Ambassador to the UAE Sunjay Sudhir said on Thursday.
The CEPA is likely to boost trade between India and the UAE from USD 60 billion to USD 100 billion in the next five years, Ambassador Sudhir told PTI on the eve of the virtual summit. It is also expected to result in increased trade in services and mutual investments. CEPA will further deepen our strategic partnership, he said. According to a statement by the UAE’s official news agency WAM, Prime Minister Modi and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Al Nahyan will witness the signing of key bilateral strategic agreements during the summit.
This includes the UAE-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (UAE-India CEPA), which will usher in a new era of economic cooperation and unlock greater avenues for trade and investment, it said. The two leaders will discuss a range of regional and global issues of mutual concern, as well as ways to establish stronger strategic bilateral ties under the auspices of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership signed in 2017, it said.
Launched five months ago, the UAE-India CEPA negotiations proceeded swiftly, leading to a landmark agreement in an unprecedented timeframe. Today, the UAE is India’s third largest trade partner and accounts for approximately 40 per cent of its trade with the Arab world, said the statement. Bilateral non-oil trade is anticipated to rise to USD 100 billion within five years.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), making an announcement on the summit, said on Wednesday that Prime Minister Modi and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Al Nahyan are expected to lay out their vision of the historic and friendly bilateral ties at a time when India is celebrating 75 years of its independence and the UAE marking the 50th anniversary of its foundation.
It said that Modi and Al Nahyan, who is also the deputy supreme commander of the UAE armed forces, will discuss bilateral cooperation and exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest. “A major initiative in bilateral relations is the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). Negotiations for CEPA were launched in September 2021 and have been completed. The agreement will take India-UAE economic and commercial engagement to the next level,” the MEA said.
The CEPA is likely to include areas like trade, investment, goods and services. The MEA said the UAE is India’s third-largest trade partner, and bilateral trade and investment ties are expected to see significant enhancements. “Both sides have collaborated closely during the Covid-19 pandemic in critical areas of healthcare and food security. Bilateral trade, investment and energy relations have remained robust.
“The two sides are also strengthening their cooperation in new areas of renewable energy, start-ups, fintech, etc,” the MEA said in a statement. India is participating with one of the largest pavilions in the Dubai Expo 2020. In recent years, bilateral relations between India and the UAE have strengthened in all areas, and both sides have embarked upon a comprehensive strategic partnership, the MEA said.
Modi visited the UAE in 2015, 2018 and 2019 while the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi visited India in 2016 and 2017. Ministerial visits between the two sides have also continued, including three visits of the external affairs minister and a visit of the commerce and industry minister to the UAE in 2021. The UAE is also home to over 35 lakh Indians who have been playing a key role in overall cultural and people-to-people ties between the two sides.