UAE foreign minister’s India visit boosts ties

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, in New Delhi on July 9, 2019. (WAM photo)
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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, in New Delhi on July 9, 2019. (WAM photo)
Updated 09 July 2019
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UAE foreign minister’s India visit boosts ties

  • Both consider enhancing energy security amid Iran sanctions
  • The UAE is India’s third-largest trade partner and fourth-largest energy supplier

NEW DELHI: The UAE’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Tuesday, concluding a three-day official visit.

The two discussed regional issues including terrorism, energy security and brewing tensions in the Middle East. “We talked at length about further improving economic and cultural relations between India and the UAE,” Modi tweeted after the meeting.

The Indian Foreign Ministry, in a statement, said Modi had “reiterated his strong commitment to work with the UAE leadership to take the relationship to higher levels in all spheres of cooperation, including in trade and economy, energy, tourism and contact.

“The foreign minister stated that India-UAE relations have never been better. He also outlined the UAE’s vision to enhance bilateral cooperation for the mutual benefit of the people of both countries and for peace, prosperity and stability in the region.”

Sheikh Abdullah also met his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, and discussed a wide range of bilateral issues.

“The two discussed issues related to trade and investment, defense and security and energy security,” said Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson for the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

Sheikh Abdullah’s visit comes at a time when the issue of energy security is high on New Delhi’s agenda after the imposition of US sanctions on Iranian oil exports.

The UAE is India’s third-largest trade partner and fourth-largest energy supplier. Modi visited the Gulf nation twice in his first term in the office — during his first visit in 2015 the countries upgraded their relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

The UAE invited India as its guest to the 46th Council of Foreign Ministers meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which it chaired in Abu Dhabi in March.

It is home to a 3.5 million-strong Indian community, the largest in the Gulf region.

New Delhi-based West Asia expert Zakir Hussain said: “Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed’s visit is the first interaction between the Modi regime since it returned to power in May 2019 and the UAE.

“The visit comes at a time when India is looking for a predictable source of energy supply after the disruption of the oil supply from Iran.

“Modi’s recent landslide victory in the election puts his government under great pressure to create more jobs and I am sure New Delhi must have discussed ways and means to expedite UAE investment in India.”


Monsoon flooding death toll rises to 152 in South Asia

Updated 52 min 40 sec ago
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Monsoon flooding death toll rises to 152 in South Asia

  • At least 90 people have died in Nepal and 50 in northeastern India’s Assam state over the past week
  • South Asia’s monsoon rains, which hit the region from June to September, are crucial for the rain-fed crops planted during the season

GAUHATI, India: The death toll in monsoon flooding in South Asia has risen to 152 as millions of people and animals continue to face the brunt in three countries, officials said Saturday.
At least 90 people have died in Nepal and 50 in northeastern India’s Assam state over the past week. A dozen have been killed in Bangladesh.
Shiv Kumar, a government official in Assam, said 10 rare one-horned rhinos have died in Kaziranga National Park since the Brahmaputra River burst its banks, flooding the reserve.
Some 4.8 million people spread over 3,700 villages across the state are still affected by the floods, though the frequency of rains has decreased in the past 24 hours, the Assam Disaster Response Authority said. More than 2.5 million have also been hit by flooding in India’s Bihar state.
Amid the flooding, 20-year-old Imrana Khatoon delivered her first baby on a boat in floodwaters early Friday while on her way to a hospital in Assam’s flooded Gagalmari village, locals said. The woman and the newborn were brought back to their home without getting to the hospital.
Community health worker Parag Jyoti Das, who visited the family, said there were no post-delivery health complications. However, the mother and the child were moved to a hospital on a boat to the nearby town of Jhargaon because of unhygienic conditions due to floodwaters, Das said. The health center in Khatoon’s village was flooded and closed.
“I would have felt happier if the baby’s father was here,” said Khatoon, whose husband works in a hotel in the southern state of Kerala.
More than 147,000 people have taken shelter in 755 government-run camps across Assam, officials said.
Authorities warned they would take action against suppliers who were reported to be distributing poor quality rice and other essentials to marooned people and inmates of temporary shelters at some places.
“We have ordered the arrest of those unscrupulous elements supplying substandard materials and playing with the lives of the affected people,” said Himanta Biswa Sarma, Assam’s finance minister.
In Nepal, the Home Ministry said about 36,728 families were affected by the monsoon rains. The flooding and mudslides forced some 13,000 families to flee their homes.
In at least two of Nepal’s districts, helicopters were used to transport emergency food supplies, while other transport means were being used to move tents and other supplies to the victims.
South Asia’s monsoon rains, which hit the region from June to September, are crucial for the rain-fed crops planted during the season.