Patil accorded warm welcome in UAE, trade, energy security on her agenda

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Abu Dhabi, Nov.22 (ANI): President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, who arrived in United Arab Emirate capital Abu Dhabi on her maiden visit to the Gulf on Sunday evening, was on Monday, accorded a warm ceremonial welcome.

She was given a ceremonial welcome by a guard of honor at the Al Mushrif Palace, which located in the heart of Abu Dhabi. Her UAE counterpart, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, received her.

During the ceremonial reception, the national anthems of the two countries - India and the UAE - were played. This was followed by one-to-one talks between the two leaders and bilateral-level discussions.

The talks were followed by a lunch organized in honor of the visiting dignitary.

The Indian President is expected to meet the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan this evening. The meeting will be of 30-minutes duration.

The president and her entourage will then attend a function at the India Social and Cultural Center.

The highlight of President Patil's visit to the UAE will be the launching of an Indian Workers Resource Centre designed to provide a 24-hour helpline and counselling services to workers from the country that are in distress.

On Tuesday, the president will visit the Abu Dhabi Indian School to interact with students and faculty. She will also inaugurate the Indian Islamic Center and address the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce.

On Tuesday afternoon, she will travel by road to Dubai, where she will address the India Club and attend a reception held in her honor by the Indian community.

On Wednesday, she will participate in an Internal Business Meeting at Dubai's Hyatt Hotel. A meeting will follow with the Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and ruler of Dubai Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

On Wednesday evening, she will visit the world's tallest tower-the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai International Academic City.

On Thursday, President Patil will inaugurate the Indian Trade Exhibition Center at Sharjah and address a business meeting. She will then again visit the Burj Khalifa and take part in a Desert Safari.

She will leave for Syrian capital Damascus on Friday morning.

The UAE is federation of seven emirates with a presidential form of government. It is guided by an interim Constitution that was promulgated in 1971 and formerly adopted in 1996. It has a Council of Ministers and a Federal National Council consisting of 40 members, drawn proportionately from each of the seven emirates - Abu Dhabi (8), Dubai (8), Sharjah (6), Ras Al Khaimah (6), Umm Al Quwain (4), Ajman (4) and Fujairah (4).

India is both a major source of imports and exports for the UAE. India-UAE ties are multi-faceted and have the potential for the building of a strategic partnership. The UAE is also home to a 1.75 million strong Indian expatriate community.

India and the UAE are the largest trading partners of each other in terms of non-oil merchandise trade, with bilateral trade valued at 43.4 billion dollars for the year 2009-10. Over 450 flights take place between various destinations of India and the UAE.

The governments of the two countries have inked several bilateral pacts since January 1975. There have also been Joint Commission meetings and Foreign Office Consultations between the two countries.

Indians have emerged as important investors in the UAE. India's major exports to the UAE are petroleum products, precious metals, stones, gems and jewellery, minerals and food items etc. India imports petroleum and petroleum products, precious metals, stones, gems and jewellery, minerals, chemicals, wood and wood products. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)

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