India, UAE Sign 13 Pacts During Crown Prince’s Visit


New Delhi:  An umbrella pact on comprehensive strategic partnership, India and the UAE are set to sign 13 agreements in various fields during the visit of Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the armed forces of the Gulf nation.

The crown prince is the chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations on January 26, the second time a leader of the Gulf nation will be doing the honours after the king of Saudi Arabia in 2006.

The comprehensive strategic partnership pact is expected to further consolidate the growing ties between the countries, which includes robust security cooperation. The pacts will be signed after the crown prince holds bilateral talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 25. Focus is expected to be on economic ties.

“We are expecting to sign around 13 agreements, which will be crowned by the main agreement that will be the strategic dialogue,” said Ahmed Abdulrahman A AlBanna, the UAE ambassador to India.

The two countries will hold annual strategic dialogue at the level of junior foreign ministers. The next dialogue will take place in September this year.

The envoy said his country is willing to enhance cooperation with India on counter-terrorism, but refused to answer specific questions on whether his country would play any crucial role on India’s concerns over cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan.

“We condemn terrorism and coordinate with any country to work on countering terrorism”, the envoy said.

He also refused to comment on reports that the UAE government has recently attached properties of Dawood Ibrahim. “I don’t actually like to talk about reports that have any firm source or foundation. I don’t read it. It means nothing to me,” the envoy said.

The UAE leader is accompanied by a tolerance delegation and they would hold discussion with various stakeholders on issues such as religious tolerance and harmony.