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.”