New Delhi was a hub of activity on the 24th and 25th of May 2023 as it hosted the annual Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) conference. Prominent figures such as Sanjeev Bajaj, President of CII, and Chandragit Banerjee, Director-General of CII, attended, along with a distinguished assortment of global investors, businessmen, and companies from the UAE and India. The session titled, “Is Minilateralism the Future of Global Trade?” was a standout, featuring the significant participation of Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, UAE Minister of Economy.
The highlight of this narrative is the transformative journey India has undertaken since 2014 under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. His progressive policies and commitment to a corruption-free approach have drawn global attention, placing India firmly on the international business map. Initiatives like ‘Make in India‘ and ‘Digital India‘ have fostered innovation and attracted significant foreign investment, which has not only propelled India’s economic growth but also strengthened its bilateral relationship with the UAE.
The UAE and India showcased impressive economic growth rates in 2022, with the UAE’s economy expanding by 7.6% and the Indian economy marking a 7.7% growth in the first nine months of the fiscal year 2022-2023. Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri heralded the partnership between the UAE and India as a major force for economic growth, influencing over 3.8 billion people globally and driving trade and investment flows in South Asia, impacting regional and global markets.
One notable catalyst to this impressive economic growth was the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), signed between India and the UAE in February 2022. This agreement facilitated trade exchanges and investment flows, creating opportunities for both exporters and importers. It played an instrumental role in eliminating customs tariffs on over 80% of goods from both countries, augmenting market access across various sectors.
A testament to the robust economic environment is the surge in non-oil foreign trade, which rose by 24.7% in Q1 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. Additionally, the UAE’s non-oil exports to Indian markets saw a 33% increase. Total trade between the two countries rose to about AED180 billion (US$49 billion), marking a 10% increase from 2021.
The UAE, with its Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements Program launched in September 2021, has outlined a grand vision for enhancing economic openness and fostering global trade partnerships. So far, partnerships have been signed with India, Israel, Indonesia, and Turkiye, and more alliances are planned for the future, bolstering the ambitious ‘We the UAE 2031’ vision.
Al Marri spoke of the UAE’s notable economic achievements in 2022, with a GDP growth of 7.6% and non-oil foreign trade surpassing AED2.2 trillion for the first time. Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) also saw an upward trend, reaching AED20.7 billion in 2021, marking a 4% increase from 2020. These achievements have placed the UAE in the top spot in West Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa.
The CII Annual Conference 2023 themed “Future Frontiers: Competitiveness, Technology, Sustainability, and Internationalization” was a platform for an in-depth dialogue on macroeconomic developments, growth, reforms, and the future of various sectors crucial to the global and Indian economy. The conference coincided with India’s presidency of the G20 international forum in 2023, marking a pivotal moment in India’s global engagement.
The ongoing success story of the UAE-India partnership also provides an opportunity to acknowledge the remarkable turnaround India has undergone since 2014 under the stewardship of PM Modi. His progressive and transformative policies, complemented by a corruption-free approach to business, have played a significant role in making India an attractive destination for global business.
Under Modi’s tenure, India’s commitment to economic reform and the ease of doing business has significantly increased, with various initiatives aimed at promoting foreign investment and fostering an environment conducive to rapid economic growth. This forward-thinking approach has not only elevated India’s status on the global stage but has also fostered a strong bilateral relationship with the UAE, serving as a testament to his leadership and vision.
Modi’s landmark ‘Make in India’ campaign, launched in 2014, has played a crucial role in this economic resurgence. This initiative, designed to transform India into a global manufacturing hub, has increased the nation’s competitiveness and facilitated the growth of key sectors, attracting significant foreign investment.
Likewise, the revolutionary ‘Digital India’ initiative has accelerated the country’s transition to a digital economy, fostering innovation and providing immense opportunities for collaboration with international partners. It is through such progressive policies and strategic vision that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has truly put India on the global map, creating a prosperous and sustainable future for the nation and its partners.
The strengthening of UAE-India relations has been bolstered by this economic growth and the conducive business environment created under Modi’s government. The UAE’s support of India’s vision to expand its economy to US$5 trillion by 2025 also reflects the robust and strategic economic partnership these nations have fostered.
In conclusion, the successful partnership between the UAE and India provides an exemplary model of bilateral cooperation, powered by progressive leadership and shared vision. As both nations continue to grow and innovate, their partnership stands as a beacon of economic collaboration, offering lessons for the global community.