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India, UAE plan infrastructure fund, defence and technology ties

By Stanley Carvalho
August 17, 2015 21:06 IST
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UAE would help India develop strategic petroleum reserves

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) shakes hand with United Arab Emirates Prime Minister and Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum during his visit in Dubai August 17, 2015. Photograph: Reuters

India and the United Arab Emirates will set up a multi-billion dollar fund to invest in Indian infrastructure projects and cooperate in producing military equipment, space technology and nuclear energy, officials said on Monday.

Indian foreign secretary Subrahmanyan Jaishankar announced the plans at the end of a two-day visit to the UAE by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which focused on both business ties and national security.

India is eager for foreign capital and technology to develop its economy while the UAE, one of the richest of the Gulf Arab energy exporters, wants to use overseas investments to diversify its asset base beyond oil.

The fund will aim to raise $75 billion to build railways, ports, roads and other projects in India, Jaishankar said. He did not give a time frame, say how such a huge sum would be financed or describe how the fund would be structured.

A joint statement by the two governments said the UAE would help India develop strategic petroleum reserves in addition to its upstream and downstream petroleum sectors.

It set a target of increasing bilateral trade by 60 percent in the next five years and pledged cooperation in developing and launching satellites, as well as peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

The governments will "cooperate in manufacture of defence equipment in India", the statement said without elaborating.

Both countries have been in conflict with Islamist militants, and the statement undertook to increase cooperation in counter-terrorism operations and intelligence sharing.

The UAE has an Indian community of over 2.5 million people. Jaishankar said the UAE had agreed to provide land to build an Indian temple in Abu Dhabi, the first such temple in the capital. The neighbouring emirate of Dubai already has a temple.

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Stanley Carvalho in Dubai
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