New Delhi: Boosting trade ties by ramping up UAE's investment in India and stepping up defence and security cooperation in the wake of rising threat of ISIS are set to be the major focus of talks between Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi tomorrow.
Economy of UAE, one of the leading producers of oil, has been hit hard by falling crude prices and it is expected that the Gulf nation would like to invest significantly in India's energy and infrastructure sectors from its sovereign wealth fund of around USD 800 billion.
India has been eyeing the fund, being managed by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, for its infrastructure sector including for railways, ports and roads. Joint production of defence equipment is another key area where both the countries are working hard. Under the initiative, UAE may make investment for manufacturing such equipment in India and get the products' supply.
Strengthening existing cooperation in information sharing and counter-terrorism will be another focus area in view of rising threat of ISIS. UAE has deported about a dozen Indians with suspected links to the terror group.
"The security cooperation between the two countries has been exemplary. There is concrete meeting of minds on the issue," said Anil Wadhwa, Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs.
Asked whether India will raise the issue of attaching properties of wanted terrorist Dawood Ibrahim in UAE, Wadhwa refused to talk about any specific individual maintaining these are "ongoing processes".
Al Nahyan is accompanied by a power-packed delegation for his three-day trip till February 12 which includes several top ministers and over 100 business tycoons and CEOs of top companies.
President Pranab Mukherjee will host a private lunch for Al Nahyan tomorrow, in a reflection of importance the government has accorded to his visit. Wadhwa said he does not recall such gesture by the President in recent times. The Crown Prince will also have a working dinner with Modi tomorrow.
A number of pacts in a wide range of sectors like nuclear energy, oil, IT, aerospace and railways are expected to be signed tomorrow after talks between Modi and Al Nahyan, an influential leader in the UAE who is also the country's Deputy Supreme Commander of the armed forces.
After visit here of Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in March last year, Al Nahyan is another important leader to come here from Gulf region, home to 7 million Indians who are a major source of remittances. It also fulfills 60 per cent of India's energy needs.
"The visit takes place after we have decided to elevate our relationship to comprehensive strategic partnership during our Prime Minister's visit to UAE in August last year and this will provide an opportunity to have detailed discussions to consolidate the domains of existing partnership," said Wadhwa.
He said areas of cooperation will include production of defence equipment in India, strategic partnership in security and counter-terrorism and cooperation in nuclear and space sectors.