Elevating their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership, India and the UAE today came down heavily on countries sponsoring terrorism against other states in what is seen as an oblique reference to Pakistan.
Denouncing and opposing terrorism in all forms and manifestations and asking all states to abandon the use of terrorism against other countries, the two sides also called for dismantling of terrorism infrastructures and bringing perpetrators of terrorism to justice.
References to terrorism in all forms including state-sponsored were the highlight of a 31-point joint statement issued after talks between the UAE Crown Pince Prince Mohamed Bin Zayed AI Nahyan and Narendra Modi, the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the strategic Gulf state in 34 years.
Agreeing to boost bilateral cooperation in counter-terrorism operations, intelligence-sharing and capacity building, Modi and the Crown Prince also agreed to coordinate efforts to counter radicalisation and misuse of religion by groups and countries for inciting hatred and justifying terrorism for pursuing political aims.
Both sides denounced and opposed terrorism in “all forms and manifestations, herever committed and by whomever, calling on all states to reject and abandon the use of terrorism against other countries, dismantle terrorism infrastructures where they exist, and bring perpetrators of terrorism to justice”.
This is seen as a veiled reference to Pakistan which has been repeatedly told by India to top terror activities emanating from Pakistani soil against it.
The two countries decided to work together to control, regulate and share information on flow of funds that could have a bearing on radicalisation activities and cooperate in
interdicting illegal flows and take action against concerned individuals and organisations, the joint statement said.
They also agreed to strengthen cooperation in law enforcement, anti-money laundering, drug trafficking, other trans-national crimes and extradition arrangements.
Asked by reporters whether the issue of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and his properties in UAE came up for discussion, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar did not give a direct reply, saying larger issues and trends having bearing on the countries figured in the talks.
“The two nations reject extremism and any link between religion and terrorism. They condemn efforts, including by states, to use religion to justify, support and sponsor terrorism against other countries. They also deplore efforts by countries to give religious and sectarian colour to political issues and disputes, including in West and South Asia, and use terrorism to pursue their aims,” the statement said.
The two leaders agreed to elevate India-UAE relationship to a “comprehensive strategic partnership” and chart out a new course for cooperation in key areas like defence, security, trade, maritime security and intelligence sharing.
In Dubai, Modi held comprehensive talks with UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Modi and Prince Mohamed agreed to establish a Strategic Security Dialogue between the two governments besides deciding to strengthen defence relations, including through regular exercises and training of naval, air, land and Special Forces.
They agreed to cooperate in manufacture of defence equipment in India and work together to promote peace, reconciliation, stability, inclusiveness and cooperation in the wider South Asia, Gulf and West Asia region.
India and the UAE also decided to establish a dialogue between their National Security Advisers and National Security Councils. The NSAs will meet every six months.
The statement said the leaders agreed to promote strategic partnership in the energy sector, including through UAE’s participation in India in the development of strategic petroleum reserves, upstream and downstream petroleum sectors, and collaboration in third countries.
The two sides also decided to promote cooperation in cyber security, including prevention on use of cyber for terrorism, radicalization and disturbing social harmony.
They agreed to cooperate to strengthen maritime security in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean region, which is vital for the security and prosperity of both countries.
The UAE resolved to join hands with India for the adoption of New Delhi’s proposed Comprehensive convention on International Terrorism in the United Nations.
Both the countries called on all nations to “fully respect and sincerely implement” their commitments to resolve disputes bilaterally and peacefully, without resorting to violence and terrorism.
Recognising India as an emerging frontier of business opportunities, it was decided that UAE would step up its investment in India including through the establishment of
UAE-India Infrastructure Investment Fund, with the aim of reaching a target of USD 75 billion.
The sectors identified for UAE’s investment include railways, ports, roads, airports and industrial corridors and parks. UAE also agreed to help Indian companies to invest in infrastructure development in the Gulf country.
The two countries set a target of increasing current trade volume by 60 per cent in the next five years.
It was agreed to tap India’s expertise in small and medium enterprises to create a vibrant industrial base in UAE, which could also be of benefit to Indian enterprises.
Modi and the Crown Prince agreed to cooperate in peaceful uses of nuclear energy including in areas like safety, health, agriculture and science and technology.
The joint statement said despite natural synergies and boundless potential for a natural strategic partnership, relations in the past have not kept pace with the exponential growth in relations between their people or the promise of the partnership.
The two sides also agreed to strengthen cooperation in education, science and technology, renewable energy, arid agriculture, desert ecology, urban development and advanced healthcare.
They decided to promote cooperation in space, including in joint development and launch of satellites, ground-based infrastructure and space application.
Modi welcomed UAE’s plan to set up the West Asia’s first Space Research Centre at AI Ain and plans to launch a Mars Mission in 2021.
The Prime Minister thanked UAE for its support for India’s candidature for permanent membership of a reformed United Nations Security Council.
The two sides felt people-to-people relations were at the heart of India-UAE relations and both governments will continue to nurture these relations and ensure the welfare of their citizens, especially the workers, in each other’s country, as also work together to prevent human trafficking, it said. An estimated 2.6 million Indians are living in the
Modi thanked the Crown Prince for his decision to allot land for construction of a temple in Abu Dhabi.