Narendra Modi's visit of strategic importance to UAE: Foreign Minister

Dubai, Aug 16: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit is of "strategic importance" to the UAE, Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said in remarks published on Sunday.

The United Arab Emirates has also placed India at the forefront of its international partnership from a foreign policy and regional security perspective, the minister told the Khaleej Times.

'Modi's visit important to UAE'

The UAE "recognises the importance of broadening a comprehensive dialogue with India that deepens and diversifies our areas of engagement", he said.

"There are particularly strong opportunities for UAE-India security cooperation in combating terrorism, which both our governments condemn in the strongest terms in all its forms and manifestations, as well as in the maritime domain."

Modi left for Abu Dhabi on Sunday for a two-day visit to the UAE which will take him to Dubai on Monday. He is the first Indian prime minister to visit the UAE in 34 years.

Also read: PM Narendra Modi in UAE: What can we expect?

"The UAE and India have a robust economic relationship, which is underpinned and sustained by various bilateral agreements we have signed over the last years," Shaikh Abdullah said.

He said Modi's visit "comes at a time when relations between the UAE and India have never been warmer.

"The prime minister's visit is of strategic significance in our bilateral relations and follows on the heels of growing diplomatic, economic, energy and defence cooperation between our two countries."

The minister said the UAE "feels strongly about the need to counter extremism and incitement to violence, and has recently passed legislation that bans hate speech and the promotion of violence.

"India shares our concerns over the rise of extremism. The barbaric ideology that extremists embrace threatens values that the UAE and India hold dear, and both our countries have a mutual desire to see the region and the entire world free of the scourge of extremism."

India is the UAE's second largest trading partner. The UAE is India's third largest trading partner.

The minister said his "deeply values the important contributions that the large Indian community living and working in the UAE has made to its economy and society".

He said the over 950 direct weekly flights between the UAE and India showed the strength of people-to-people and economic ties between the two countries.

"We look forward to further facilitating the movement of people and expanding aviation ties between our countries in the years to come."

He said the UAE looked forward to the next meeting of the UAE-India Joint Committee - a key platform for dialogue - on September 3, 2015.

"Our shared values and strong bilateral ties provide an important basis on which the UAE and India can elevate their relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

"Prime Minister Modi's visit provides an opportunity to chart a new course in our partnership for the 21st century.

"We look forward to a productive exchange of ideas covering a wide range of economic, political and security issues of mutual interest," the UAE minister said.


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