The UAE-India partnership has a new catalyst in play

The UAE-India partnership has a new catalyst in play


Within the constellation of cooperation mechanisms that bind our two countries together, the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) remains fundamental to the continued dynamism of our partnership.

Having entered into force only 18 months ago, the CEPA has catapulted the United Arab Emirates-India relationship to new heights.

Not only has it expanded market access for Emirati and Indian businesses seeking to enter each other’s respective markets, it has also significantly decreased tariffs, streamlined customs procedures and introduced a series of robust and transparent regulations that support rules-based competition.

Proof of the CEPA’s benefits are clear in the United Arab Emirates’ continued evolution as one of India’s most important economic partners.

Over the course of the past year, the United Arab Emirates has risen to the position of India’s fourth-largest investor, third-largest trading partner and second-largest export destination, further underlining the transformative influence of the CEPA. This collaborative spirit extends to various sectors, mainly the field of aviation, which is key to nurturing and consolidating trade, investment and cultural ties.

Although these developments should be lauded, I would argue that the CEPA has done much more than strengthen our economic bonds.

In fact, the CEPA has served as a launch pad for the development of much deeper and more nuanced relations, and encouraged a level of strategic and political alignment that is unprecedented in the history of the relationship between United Arab Emirates and India.

India’s unflinching support throughout the United Arab Emirates’ presidency of CoP-28, and that of the UAE of India’s G20 presidency, are indicative of the importance that both our countries place upon this partnership. Beyond this, the United Arab Emirates’ recent membership of BRICS—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa—grouping, which was supported by the Indian government, will serve to further catalyse our bilateral ties, and qualitatively expand our mutual desire to promote peace and prosperity at the global level.

Our shared dedication to working closely together will be seen in the coming days, with our two countries building a new level of cooperation upon the foundations laid by the signing of the CEPA. At this year’s Vibrant Gujarat Summit, the United Arab Emirates-India CEPA Council (UICC) will be officially unveiled.

This is an exciting development in our bilateral partnership that will provide a dynamic new outlet for the business communities of our two countries to tangibly deepen their already significant and constructive commercial ties. At its core, the Council seeks to not only grasp the opportunities provided by signing the CEPA, but also to leverage the close and constructive strategic partnership that has developed at an ever-rapid pace over recent years between the United Arab Emirates and Indian governments.

In doing so, the Council will encourage inclusive and diverse partnerships across all levels of our two business communities, with a strong emphasis on critical spheres of business such as startups, women’s entrepreneurship, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), and the services sector.

In seeking to fulfil its objective of supporting Indian and UAE businesses, both small and large, the Council will facilitate a range of events that should bring our two business communities together in a manner that supports trust, dialogue and open engagement—all facets that exemplify the broader United Arab Emirates-India relationship.

Beyond this, the Council will provide our business communities with the resources they need to truly succeed, and fully unlock the benefits and opportunities of the CEPA.

As we look forward to the United Arab Emirates’ role as a partner country at this year’s Vibrant Gujarat Summit, and with the active participation of a delegation of more than 250, we must celebrate all that has been achieved within the mutual partnership. From supporting free and open trade, promoting the development of resilient and sustainable economies, through to multilateral cooperation, UAE-India ties serve as a model for other countries seeking to build a long-lasting and multidimensional relationship.

The United Arab Emirates is confident that there is much more that we can accomplish by working hand-in-hand with our Indian counterparts.

We remain excited by the prospects and opportunities that our partnership will continue to open up—not only now, but also in the distant future. Through the establishment of the UAE-India CEPA Council, the continued strength of the CEPA and our burgeoning strategic bonds, I welcome our partners and friends to join us on this journey of success.


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