IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


11th January, 2024 International Relations


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  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and United Arab Emirates President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan met for the fourth time in less than seven months and expressed their satisfaction with the progress of their Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.


  • The two leaders witnessed the signing of four Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) between India and the UAE, covering areas such as renewable energy, healthcare, food parks and logistics.
  • One of the MoUs was between the Gujarat government and DP World, a Dubai-based global port operator and logistics company, which aims to develop a multi-modal logistics park and a free trade zone in the state.
  • The other three MoUs were between the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and the UAE’s Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention, and the Ministry of Food Processing Industries and the UAE’s Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.
  • These MoUs reflect the shared vision and commitment of the two leaders to enhance cooperation in various sectors and create new opportunities for mutual benefit.

READ ALL ABOUT INDIA UAE RELATIONS: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/india-and-united-arab-emirates-uae-relation

India-UAE relations: Some key points

  • India-UAE relations have witnessed a substantial transformation in recent decades, evolving from a primarily economic partnership to a comprehensive strategic engagement.

Economic Collaboration:

  • In FY 2021-22, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was India's third largest trade partner, with total non-oil bilateral trade valued at US$72.87 billion. Now the two countries have signed a bilateral trade agreement called the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which came in effect May 1, 2022.
  • Example: Both countries have explored investment opportunities in key sectors. In 2018, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) announced an investment of USD 1 billion in India's National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF).

Defense Collaboration:

  • The defense relationship has witnessed significant advancements, with defense trade between the two nations reaching USD 1.7 billion in 2020.
  • Example: Joint military exercises like "Gulf Star" and "Desert Eagle" provide practical training and foster interoperability. The signing of a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement in 2018 further solidifies the defense collaboration.

Counter-Terrorism Cooperation:

  • The UAE and India have cooperated closely on counter-terrorism efforts, sharing intelligence and conducting joint operations.
  • Example: The deportation of a key accused in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, Farooq Devdiwala, from the UAE to India in 2021, highlighted the robust counter-terrorism cooperation.

Indian Diaspora and Cultural Ties:

  • The Indian expatriate community in the UAE is significant, constituting about 30% of the total population.
  • Example: Cultural events like the Dubai Shopping Festival celebrate the diversity of the Indian diaspora, fostering cultural exchanges and strengthening people-to-people ties.

Energy Cooperation:

  • The UAE is a crucial partner in India's energy security, supplying around 8% of India's crude oil requirements9.
  • Example: In 2020, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) signed a strategic partnership agreement with India's Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd (SPRL) to store crude oil in India's strategic petroleum reserves.

Investment and Infrastructure Projects:

  • UAE sovereign wealth funds have invested significantly in Indian infrastructure projects, including highways, airports, and renewable energy ventures.
  • Example: DP World, a UAE-based port operator, has invested in India's logistics and port infrastructure, contributing to economic development.

Global and Regional Collaboration:

  • Both nations collaborate on global issues, including climate change and sustainable development, reflecting shared values.
  • Example: In 2021, India and the UAE partnered in launching the International Solar Alliance (ISA) summit, showcasing joint efforts in the renewable energy sector.

Health Cooperation:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has seen cooperation in healthcare, with the UAE providing medical supplies and supporting India's vaccination drive.
  • Example: The UAE's donation of medical oxygen to India during the second wave of the pandemic showcased solidarity and support.

Space Collaboration:

  • The UAE and India collaborate in space exploration, with the Emirati Mars Mission (Hope Probe) launched from Indian space facilities.
  • Example: The joint Mars exploration project symbolizes high-tech cooperation between the two nations.

Education and Research:

  • Educational ties have strengthened, with thousands of Indian students pursuing higher education in the UAE.
  • Example: Collaborative research projects, especially in technology and innovation, demonstrate a shared commitment to knowledge exchange.

Geopolitical significance of India UAE Relationship

The geopolitical significance of the India-UAE relationship is multifaceted and holds strategic importance in shaping the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East and South Asia. Several key aspects contribute to the geopolitical significance of this bilateral relationship:

Economic Cooperation:

  • The UAE is one of India's largest trading partners and a significant source of foreign direct investment (FDI).
  • The economic ties contribute to the stability and growth of both economies, fostering mutual prosperity and strengthening their positions in the global economic order.

Energy Security:

  • The UAE is a crucial partner in ensuring India's energy security. It is a major supplier of crude oil and petroleum products to India.
  • Cooperation in the energy sector enhances India's resilience to global energy market fluctuations and ensures a stable and diverse energy supply.

Strategic Location:

  • The UAE's strategic geographic location serves as a vital link between India and the rest of the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.
  • The UAE's ports and logistics infrastructure facilitate India's trade and connectivity, reinforcing its position as a regional economic and strategic hub.

Counterterrorism Cooperation:

  • Both countries collaborate closely on counterterrorism initiatives, sharing intelligence and coordinating efforts to combat extremism and terrorism.
  • This cooperation contributes to regional stability by addressing common security challenges and fostering a united front against terrorism.

Diaspora Influence:

  • The large Indian diaspora in the UAE, comprising skilled professionals and laborers, plays a significant role in both economies.
  • This diaspora serves as a bridge, fostering people-to-people ties and cultural exchange, contributing to soft power diplomacy.

Strategic Partnerships:

  • India and the UAE engage in strategic partnerships that go beyond economic and energy cooperation, including defense ties and joint military exercises.
  • Such partnerships contribute to the security architecture of the region, with both nations working together to address regional challenges.

Geopolitical Balance:

  • The relationship with the UAE helps India maintain a balanced approach in the Middle East, avoiding alignment with any specific power bloc.
  • By fostering ties with the UAE, India enhances its diplomatic flexibility and influence in the region.

Global Diplomacy:

  • The UAE is a key player in international forums, and close ties with the country bolster India's diplomatic influence on global platforms.
  • Collaborative efforts on international issues, such as climate change and sustainable development, amplify the impact of both nations on the global stage.

In conclusion, the India-UAE relationship holds immense geopolitical significance by fostering economic growth, ensuring energy security, contributing to regional stability, and enhancing India's diplomatic influence on the global stage.


  • The multifaceted nature of India-UAE relations, substantiated with data and examples, underscores its significance in the geopolitical landscape.
  • The partnership not only enhances economic ties but also contributes to regional stability, security, and shared global objectives.

READ ALL ABOUT INDIA UAE RELATIONS: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/india-and-united-arab-emirates-uae-relation


Q. Examine the diverse dimensions of India-UAE relations, covering economic collaboration, strategic partnerships, and cultural ties. Evaluate the geopolitical significance of this relationship, taking into account recent developments and the impact on regional stability. Illustrate your answer with relevant examples and data to substantiate the evolving dynamics of this crucial bilateral partnership.