New buddies India, UAE eye defense agreement

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, right, speaks with India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during their meeting in New Delhi, India, on Wednesday.

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, right, speaks with India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during their meeting in New Delhi, India, on Wednesday.


India and the United Arab Emirates are eyeing a string of defense, infrastructure and other deals during Abu Dhabi’s crown prince visit to New Delhi, an official said.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the two-day trip aimed at bolstering trade which reached $59 billion last year.

The trip comes six months after Modi became the first Indian premier in three decades to visit the UAE, as he seeks to attract more foreign investment, including from the oil-rich state’s sovereign wealth fund.

“The visit takes place after we decided to elevate our relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership during the PM’s August visit,” India’s foreign ministry secretary (east) Anil Wadhwa told reporters.

The crown prince, deputy chief of the UAE armed forces, arrived late Wednesday accompanied by a large business delegation, before talks with Modi the next day.

Counter-terrorism is expected to be on the agenda, with India seeking exchanges of information with the UAE about regional security threats.

The UAE is part of the US-led coalition against the Daesh group that has seized parts of Syria and Iraq.

Delhi hopes to advance agreements on jointly producing defense equipment, as India undertakes a massive modernization of its ageing military, Wadhwa said, without specifying any deals.

Delhi is also seeking to secure investment in major infrastructure projects as the government overhauls its dilapidated railway and road networks.


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