Rice export ban may figure in Pranab's talks in UAE

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Dubai, May 12 (UNI) Close on the heels of his visit to Saudi Arabia, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee today arrived here on a three-day visit likely to be dominated by trade talks.

The easing of restrictions of rice may figure in the talks as the issue has also dominated the discussions during his recent visit to Saudi Arabia.

The 2.5 million strong Indian community in UAE and Saudi Arabia has been hit by high rice prices after India slapped export controls on the commodity.

Mr Mukherjee, who arrived here from South Africa, will meet UAE President Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan, Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan in the capital today.

China has overtaken India in non-oil trade with the UAE but the Arabian nation remains the top trading partner of India.

During the minister's interactions with Indian community, the recent decision to outsouce passport and visa services is likely to be raised. The move was not appreciated by Indian Community organisations which were doing the services earlier.

Mr Mukherjee will address a gathering at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research in Abu Dhabi, on ''Indian Foreign Policy and India-Gulf relations- Meeting and Challenges of the 21st century'' later today.

He will also meet the Indian and Emirati businessmen at a dinner hosted at Dubai World Trade Centre Club tomorrow.

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