Abu Dhabi, Dec 4 (IANS) India and the UAE on Tuesday reviewed their entire gamut of bilateral ties during their 12th Joint Commission meeting here and signed two agreements, including one on development cooperation in Africa.
In the meeting, co-chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and United Arab Emirates (UAE) Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, both sides reviewed the entire scope of bilateral ties and took stock of the developments in the region.
“Both ministers expressed satisfaction that our bilateral relation has gone from strength to strength over the last few years,” said T.S. Tirumurti, Secretary (Economic Relations) in the External Affairs Ministry, following the meeting.
“They discussed several areas of mutual interest, including defence and security, counter-terrorism, trade, economic and investment relations, energy, science and technology, including space, cooperation in railways, civil aviation, food security, agriculture, education, capacity and skill development, Indian community and their welfare, youth, labour issues, cultural links and consular and extradition matter,” Tirumurti said.
Both ministers also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for development cooperation in Africa.
“In a significant development, an MoU on development cooperation in Africa was also signed as a symbol of South-South cooperation,” Tirumurti said.
“The first project is expected to be taken up in Ethiopia in coordination and consultation with the Ethiopian government.”
Another agreement on Indian rupee/UAE dirham currency swap between the UAE Central Bank and the Reserve Bank of India was also exchanged in the presence of the two ministers.
With nearly $50 billion bilateral trade, the two countries are one of the largest trade partners for each other and have made robust investments bilaterally.
The UAE is the sixth-largest source of India’s oil imports and hosts a 3.3 million-strong Indian Community.
On the sidelines of the meeting, Sheikh Abdullah and Sushma Swaraj, accompanied by Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, the UAE’s Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, attended the unveiling of the plans for the Zayed-Gandhi Digital Exhibition at Manarat Al Saadiyat here, WAM news agency reported.
Scheduled to open its doors to the public in March 2019, the exhibition is being organised by the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development in cooperation with the Mahatma Gandhi Digital Museums and is the first joint digital exhibition between India and the UAE.
It will mark the celebrations of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and centenary celebrations of the birth of Shaikh Zayed, founder of the modern UAE.
Sheikh Abdullah said that the Zayed-Gandhi Digital Exhibition would contribute to conveying the philosophy of the two world leaders to the future generations, enabling them to learn about their lives, achievements and deeds.
Sushma Swaraj said that the enunciation of peace, tolerance and sustainable living by Mahatma Gandhi and the UAE’s founder Sheikh Zayed has been portrayed beautifully at the Gandhi Zayed Digital Exhibition.
“Both leaders with their love for humanity and indomitable spirit continue to inspire us,” she said.
Nooura Al Kaabi said that the exhibition is designed in a way that goes beyond the concept of a traditional exhibition.
“It is a cultural forum that promotes cultural exchanges and dialogue among peoples and takes visitors on a journey entitled aLove, the Nation, and Wise Leadership, through the values of Peace, Tolerance and Fraternity’,” Al Kaabi said.
She stressed that the exhibition is an opportunity to meet the two exceptional leaders through interactive content, photographs and videos representing their lives, which stand testimony to their achievements.
Sushma Swaraj also called on Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
“Both expressed satisfaction at the pace of our bilateral relations in a range of areas, attesting to our comprehensive strategic partnership,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted following the meeting.
Later, Sushma Swaraj also addressed members of the Indian community and appreciated their role in enhancing India-UAE ties.