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During his visit to the UAE over the weekend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with the country’s ambassador to India, Abdulnasser Alshaali, to discuss the key outcomes of the visit. Alshaali, who holds a PhD in Economics from Australia, also addressed topics such as the shared concern of terrorism and security cooperation with India, regional geopolitics, including the recently formed I2U2 grouping comprising India, UAE, Israel and the US, and China’s role in the Gulf region and the UAE’s leadership in COP-28.

When asked about the significance of the visit, Alshaali emphasized the importance of maintaining momentum in the relationship between the two countries at the highest level, citing the increased number of visits and the impact of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) on trade. He highlighted the 15% growth in trade resulting from CEPA and the signing of two economic agreements, emphasizing the significance of these pacts in boosting bilateral trade and strengthening economic ties between the two countries.

Regarding the third MoU signed in the education sector, Alshaali explained that the establishment of IIT-Delhi Abu Dhabi in the UAE will provide additional educational opportunities for students, contributing to the diverse range of programmes offered in the country. He also noted the solid market for employment opportunities in UAE for graduates from such institutions.

In terms of visa policies for Indian travelers to the UAE, Alshaali acknowledged the need for liberalization and increased capacity for flights to accommodate the growing demand for travel between the two countries. He also emphasized the shared concerns of terrorism and religious extremism, as well as the importance of security cooperation between India and the UAE.

Alshaali further discussed the development of the I2U2 platform and the importance of collaboration between the four member countries, emphasizing its economic focus and the potential for synergy between them. He also highlighted the UAE’s expectations from India’s support as the country chairs COP28.

In conclusion, Alshaali emphasized the establishment of a UAE-India CEPA council focused on SMEs, MSMEs, and entrepreneurs as a significant takeaway from the Prime Minister’s visit, highlighting the potential for creating job opportunities and fostering economic growth through this initiative.

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