India, UAE to work closely in Africa; UAE seeks India’s support on Yemen situation

NEW DELHI: India and the United Arab Emirates have decided to hold a Joint Commission meeting in Abu Dhabi while agreeing to cooperate in select countries in Africa.

K V Prasad

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 10

Expanding on the upward trajectory of bilateral relations, India and the United Arab Emirates have decided to hold a Joint Commission meeting in Abu Dhabi while agreeing to cooperate in select countries in Africa. The UAE has also sought India’s support in exerting international pressure to sort out the Yemen issue in line with the UN resolution.

Stating this in an interaction with The Tribune, the UAE Ambassador to India, Dr Ahmed Albanna, said an invitation was extended to Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj by Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sheikh Abdullah during his recent visit to India. The Commission meeting would be held before the end of this year in Abu Dhabi.

Having upgraded its ties to Comprehensive and Strategic Partnership, both countries decided to work together in select countries of sub-Saharan Africa in areas of priority. The Ambassador said this was an example reflecting the importance both countries attached to the bilateral relationship.

The UAE, which was concerned over some legacy issues, has decided to keep moving. The Ambassador said while some issues were sorted out, others are in the process but that would not stop or be an obstacle in the UAE’s investment plans in the country.

Ahead of the visit, Sheikh Abdullah said the UAE planned to invest up to 75 billion in India over the next few years.

Recently, the Abu Dhabi Investment Fund, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world signed an agreement with investment fund set up by India during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to the UAE.

Besides trade and investment, bilateral cooperation exists across several sectors, including counter-terrorism and against radicalisation. Both countries have a structured Strategic Dialogue and Joint Defence Cooperation Committee.

Currently, some 70-odd soldiers injured in the war in Yemen are being treated at a private hospital in Delhi. Ambassador Albanna said that till date some 2,000 soldiers and civilians injured or maimed in the war had been moved to Delhi and other cities to receive treatment under the humanitarian assistance programme undertaken by the UAE.

Commenting on the three-year war against the Houthi rebels in Yemen that recently attracted international criticism, the Ambassador said the Arab Coalition, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia, had currently stopped the offensive to allow the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy Martin Griffiths to work towards a solution and bring the Houthi rebels to the negotiating table.

Ambassador Albanna said the Arab Coalition wanted the Houthi rebels to give up the Hodedia port which they had captured.

The port, he said, is being used to ferry relief material, including medicine and food, for the people affected by the war. The Houthis also disrupted the off-loading of supplies and there had been instances when weapons and missiles were found being ferried in ships that were supposed to carry relief material, he said.

During his recent visit to India, the UAE Foreign Minister briefed India on the latest developments in Yemen explaining the Arab Coalition/UAE standpoint. The UAE sought India’s support to the effort to sort out the issue through a political dialogue under supervision of the UN.

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