New Delhi: Terming their ties as “time- tested”, India and the UAE resolved to further intensify wide- ranging bilateral engagements including in strategic areas of security, defence, energy and decided to come up with an action plan by June to increase bilateral trade by 60 per cent over the next five years.
Prime Minister Narendera Modi and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who held comprehensive talks on Wednesday, also expressed satisfaction over the ties having been matured into a robust relationship across a broad spectrum of political, economic, trade and investment, energy, defence and security spheres.
An India-UAE joint statement, issued on Thursday, said the two leaders reiterated that the ongoing close cooperation on a range of security issues, particularly on counter-terrorism, maritime security and cyber-security remained a key pillar of the bilateral strategic partnership.
Mr Modi appreciated the support extended by UAE on specific issues of security concern to India as the two sides agreed to enhance cooperation in the fields of law enforcement, anti- money laundering, smuggling of fake currency, drug trafficking, human trafficking, illegal migration and other transnational organised crimes.
The two leaders agreed to provide further impetus to defence relations, including through joint exercises, training of naval, air and land forces, as also in the area of coastal defence and through participation in defence exhibitions etc.
Asserting that the UAE and India must continue to cooperate closely in order to expand mutual trade and economic opportunities, leveraging the strategic bonds, the two sides decided to conduct required studies to come up with action plans by June 2017 in order to develop a medium and long term strategy for increasing bilateral trade by 60 per cent over the next five years, the statement said.
These would focus on identification of potential sectors and the impeding tariff and non-tariff barriers, exploring opportunities in services sector and formulating a sector- specific strategy to boost two way trade and investments, it added.
Expressing satisfaction at the progress achieved in the eighth round of Joint Defence Cooperation Committee talks held in Abu Dhabi in December 2016, the two sides agreed to hold the next meeting of the Joint Defence Cooperation Committee in 2017.