A Privileged Strategic Partnership, Without a Gulf


05:20 AM

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A Privileged Strategic Partnership, Without a Gulf Blog Image


  • The Indian PM’s upcoming official visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from February 13-14, 2024, marks a significant development in the evolving relationship between the two nations.
  • This visit also provides a chance to delve into the multifaceted aspects of the India-UAE strategic partnership, exploring diplomatic, economic, cultural, and geopolitical ties that have strengthened over the years.

Character of India-UAE Special Diplomatic Relations

  • High-Profile Visits and Reciprocal Gestures
    • The diplomatic facet of the India-UAE strategic partnership is characterised by a series of high-profile visits, reciprocal gestures, and joint endeavours that underscore the depth of their relationship.
    • The Indian PM’s seventh visit to the UAE, scheduled for February 13-14, 2024, solidifies the diplomatic ties between the two nations.
  • Personal Rapport
    • The close and amicable relationship between Prime Minister Modi and UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is a cornerstone of diplomatic engagement.
    • This personal rapport has been cultivated through frequent meetings, discussions, and collaborative efforts on various fronts.
    • Their shared vision is a driving force behind the expanding cooperation in diverse areas.
  • Special Events and Initiatives
    • The diplomatic collaboration extends beyond routine meetings to include special events and initiatives that highlight the significance of the relationship.
    • For instance, the felicitation of the UAE President in Gandhinagar during the Vibrant Gujarat Summit serves as a noteworthy example.
    • This reciprocal gesture reinforces the mutual respect and camaraderie between the leaders.
  • Global Climate Initiatives
    • Both nations actively contribute to global efforts addressing climate change.
    • The joint participation in the Global Green Credit Initiative underscores their commitment to environmental sustainability.
    • This shared concern for global issues reflects a diplomatic convergence that goes beyond bilateral interests, positioning India and the UAE as responsible global stakeholders.
  • Strategic Alliances
    • The strategic alignment between India and the UAE is evident in their participation in various international forums and alliances.
    • Their involvement in the West Asian Quad (I2U2) and the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor highlights a shared commitment to regional stability and economic development.
    • These alliances further solidify their diplomatic collaboration in shaping geopolitical dynamics.
  • Crisis Response
    • The diplomatic relations between India and the UAE are tested during critical moments, such as the ongoing war in Gaza.
    • The scheduled visit provides an opportunity for both leaders to confer on pressing regional issues, showcasing their commitment to addressing challenges and maintaining stability in the region.
  • People-to-People Diplomacy
    • The cultural exchanges and people-to-people ties contribute significantly to diplomatic relations.
    • Instances like the UAE conferring the Order of Zayed on Prime Minister Modi and India being the 'Guest of Honour' at the Abu Dhabi Festival emphasise the cultural dimensions of the partnership.
    • Such gestures foster understanding and goodwill among the citizens of both nations.

Some Other Important Features of the UAE-India Strategic Partnership

  • Energy Security
    • The UAE's role as India's trusted partner in energy security is emphasised by strategic oil reserves stored in India and agreements on crude oil storage facilities.
    • The collaboration between Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company underlines the shared interest in securing energy resources.
  • Defence and Security Cooperation
    • Both nations actively engage in defence and security cooperation, showcasing mutual trust and a commitment to regional stability.
    • Notable instances of making exceptions for each other, such as India's special invitation to the OIC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the UAE's participation in the G-20 summit under India’s presidency, demonstrate a unique level of diplomatic understanding.
  • Cultural and People-to-People Ties
    • Cultural exchanges, as seen in India being the 'Guest of Honour' at the Abu Dhabi Festival and the conferring of the Order of Zayed on PM Modi, strengthen people-to-people ties.
    • Establishments like the IIT Delhi Abu Dhabi campus and the opening of a UAE consulate in Hyderabad further solidify the cultural and educational dimensions of the partnership.
  • Geopolitical Coordination
    • The involvement of both countries in crucial groupings like I2U2 and the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor showcases their shared geopolitical interests.
    • The UAE's participation in the corridor, aimed at connecting India to Europe, signifies a potential rival to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
  • Regional Dynamics: The ongoing war in Gaza adds a layer of complexity to the regional dynamics, providing an opportunity for the leaders to confer on critical issues.


  • The India-UAE strategic partnership is a testament to the depth and diversity of ties that have evolved over the years.
  • From diplomatic and economic collaboration to cultural exchanges and shared geopolitical interests, the relationship stands as a model of convergence and mutual respect.
  • As both nations recognise the potential for further growth, the privileged strategic partnership is poised to strengthen in the years ahead.

Q1) What's the difference between the concept of Atma Nirbhar Bharat vs. Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)?

The two concepts are not contradictory, but rather complementary to each other. Atmanirbhar Bharat does not mean self-containment, isolating away from the world or being protectionist. Rather it’s about getting our act together to improve domestic production of finished goods, gain from better integration with the global value chain and ensure fair trade. Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan together with a calibrated and balanced free trade agreement would build a self-reliant India that would focus not just on boosting domestic manufacturing but also on making the country a part of the global value chain. 

Q2) What is the definition for "originating products" under CEPA? 

The goods which are wholly obtained or produced entirely in the party country or if the product is not wholly or partly produced in the country then it has to satisfy stringent conditions which are one, The good has a qualifying value content of not less than 40 per cent and all the non-originating materials used for production have to undergo a change in tariff classification at the four or six-digit level.

Source: The Hindu