India, UAE ink pacts on linking Digital Payment Platforms, Trade, Energy

Tuesday, India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) inked eight agreements aimed at strengthening collaboration in vital sectors such as investments, electricity trade, and digital payment platforms. This move came as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan explored avenues for fresh cooperation.

PM Modi , commencing his two-nation tour with a visit to Abu Dhabi, assessed the bilateral alliance and engaged in discussions on both regional and global issues with Mohamed bin Zayed. The UAE stands as one of India’s significant strategic and energy allies in West Asia, with trade receiving a boost following the signing of a free trade agreement (FTA) in 2022.

In a special gesture, Mohamed bin Zayed welcomed PM Modi at the airport, extending a ceremonial reception. Subsequently, during their meeting, the leaders witnessed the exchange of eight agreements, including a bilateral investment treaty hailed by the external affairs ministry as a pivotal facilitator for enhancing investments in both nations.

PM Modi, addressing the gathering, fondly referred to the UAE leader as his “brother,” expressing a sense of familial belonging whenever he visits the emirates. The two leaders, having convened five times in the past seven months, have cultivated a close relationship, marked by PM Modi’s seventh visit to the UAE.

Acknowledging Mohamed bin Zayed’s affinity towards India and his vision for the UAE’s prosperous future, PM Modi pointed to the construction of the BAPS Mandir in Abu Dhabi, set for inauguration on Wednesday, as a testament to their cooperation. Describing it as a celebration of the UAE-India friendship and a symbol of the emirate’s commitment to harmony and tolerance, both leaders hailed the project.

Highlighting the comprehensive partnership between India and the UAE, PM Modi emphasized the significance of linking digital payment systems, foreseeing a new era in fintech. He lauded the bilateral investment treaty as a consequential follow-up to the FTA, which has already substantially liberalized trade.

Additionally, the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation in electrical interconnection and trade promises to diversify energy collaboration. Furthermore, agreements on linking instant payment platforms and domestic debit and credit cards aim to facilitate seamless cross-border transactions and bolster financial sector cooperation.

Further solidifying their ties, the two nations also entered into agreements concerning digital infrastructure projects, the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC), and cooperation in archival material preservation and heritage.

During their discussions, PM Modi and Mohamed bin Zayed underscored the deepening of their comprehensive strategic partnership across various sectors. They particularly appreciated advancements in trade, investment, digital infrastructure, fintech, energy, infrastructure, and people-to-people ties.

“Today, India is being recognised for its mega-infrastructure projects. India is being recognised as a vibrant tourist destination. India is being recognised as a big sports power. You will be proud to hear this. You know the digital revolution in India. Digital India is appreciated across the world. To ensure that people in the UAE also get its benefit, we are making all efforts. We shared RuPay card pack with the UAE…UPI is about to begin in the UAE soon. With this, seamless payments will be possible between the UAE and Indian accounts,” PM Modi said.

“Our relation is that of talent, innovation and culture. In the past, we have re-energised our relations in every direction. The two countries have walked together and have gone ahead together. Today, the UAE is India’s third-largest trade partner. Today, the UAE is India’s seventh-largest investor,” the Prime Minister added.

Following his visit to the UAE, PM Modi will proceed to Qatar, where he will meet with the emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and other dignitaries. This visit underscores the importance of India’s engagement with both nations and its commitment to fostering regional stability and economic development.

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