When Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited UAE in August last year, it was a last-minute surprise to many. What was expected from the visit was that it will be strengthening the economic relationship between the two countries.
After all, the two countries have had a well-balanced bilateral trade worth US$ 59 billion in 2014-15, making UAE – India’s third largest trading partner. UAE is among the largest investors in India in terms of foreign direct investments. It contributes significantly to India’s energy security and is the sixth largest supplier of crude oil to India in 2014-15.
But, since India has vital stakes in the security and stability of the Gulf region, which hosts over seven million Indians, the major takeaway of the visit turned out to be – counter-terrorism and security cooperation.
UAE, which has been traditionally close to Pakistan, made strong statements on terrorism and the officials from both sides discussed ways to deal with the issue of de-radicalization.
India and the UAE decided to call on all countries to dismantle terrorism infrastructure where they exist and bring perpetrators of terrorism to justice.
So, while the two countries condemned efforts by countries to use religion or justify, support and sponsor terrorism against others, they decided to coordinate efforts to counter radicalization and misuse of religion by groups.
And, to buttress cooperation against terrorism, money-laundering and drug trafficking, they decided to have a security dialogue between the National Security Advisors of the two countries.
Ahead of the visit by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, officials said that the area of cooperation on this issue will be deepened.
So, during his visit, the Crown Prince – who will be accompanied by his brother and Interior minister – the issue will be part of the joint statement between the two countries.
In the past few months, the cooperation has yielded benefits, with at least a dozen individuals being sent back to India for alleged terror activities.
The Crown Prince’s visit will be taking forward on the new path, which was carved out during Prime Minister’s visit.