India - UAE Relationship IAS Target

India - UAE Relationship

22 Jan 2020

Category : International Relations

Topic: India - UAE Relationship

India-UAE relations refer to the bilateral relations that exist between the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of India. In the financial year 2018-19, UAE-India bilateral trade increased by over 20% to reach US$59.9 billion. India's exports to the UAE increased by 7% to US$30.13 billion whereas UAE's exports to India grew by 37% to reach US$29.78 billion.

India-UAE Relations in the Past

Since 3000 B.C, relations b/w India and the seven emirates which now create the United Arab Emirates were traditionally close. India and UAE had enjoyed close and friendly ties based on cultural and historic ties. People-to-people contacts and barter trade for spices and clothes from India in exchange for dates and pearls from the region have existed for centuries.

UAE-India Relations after Independence

After the formation of the Federation in 1971, India-UAE relations emerged. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) established and India diplomatic relations in 1972. The Indian Embassy in UAE was opened in 1973 while the UAE Embassy in India was opened in 1972.

Political Relations

India-UAE bilateral relations have received force from time-to-time with an exchange of high-level visits from both sides. The visit of the PM of India to UAE in 2015 marked the starting of a new Strategic partnership. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces, tripped to India in 2016. Crown Prince traveled India again on 24-26 January 2017 as the Chief Guest at India’s Republic day celebrations.

Commercial Relations

India-UAE commercial relations are secured by energy trade, cooperation, investments by UAE in India and investments & businesses driven by Indian expatriates in UAE. In the energy sector, UAE accounts for 8 percent of India’s oil imports and is the fifth largest supplier of crude oil to India. India and UAE have speeded up the relationship to change from what used to be a buyer-seller relationship into strategic partnership.

Bilateral trade Year
180 million $ 1970s
Around 60 billion $ 2015

Institutional Mechanism

UAE and India have following institutional mechanisms in place for addressing sector-specific issues.
  • Joint Commission Meeting (JCM)
    JCM deals with issues related to trade and commerce. Both the countries discussed issues related to Bilateral Cooperation, Trade, Investments, Consular Field, Space, Education, Agriculture & Livestock and Humanitarian Aid, Economic, Banking & Finance Cooperation, Civil Aviation, Development & Triangular Cooperation.
  • Foreign Office Consultations
  • India-UAE Strategic Dialogue
  • Joint Security Committee (JSC)
  • Joint Defence Coordination Committee
  • Joint Committee on Manpower issues
  • Joint Working Group on Skill Development
  • Joint Committee for Consular Affairs (JCCA)
  • India-UAE High-level Task Force on Investment (HLTFI)
  • Joint Business Council
    A Joint Business Council consisting of Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FUCCI) and FICCI is in place.
  • Consultations between our National Security Council Secretariat and their UAE counterpart


Cultural Relations:

The two countries have shared historical ties and maintained regular cultural exchanges both at people-to-people and official levels. UAE and India signed a Cultural accord in 1975. The Embassy organizes various cultural activities on its own and by collaborating with Indian Cultural Organizations based in UAE.
  • The International Day of Yoga was celebrated on 21 June 2018 in Abu Dhabi
  • The UAE is one of the biggest overseas markets for Indian movies apart from the USA and UK.
  • Abu Dhabi govt allotted land for construction of first Hindu Temple in Abu Dhabi. There are two Hindu temples in the UAE (Dubai).
  • UAE and India declared to establish a digital museum in Abu Dhabi on the life and message of love, humanity & the tolerance of Mahatma Gandhi and Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, former President and founding father of UAE.
  • India was the 'Guest of Honour' country at the UAE's prestigious monthlong annual cultural festival in March 2018, the Abu Dhabi Festival (ADF), which displayed a diverse cultural wealth of India to the World bringing top-level performances from India.


Deepening Energy Cooperation

  • Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has signed a pact to explore storing Crude oil in the Indian Strategic Reserve in Padur. ADNOC also filled up 1.5 million tonnes of crude oil in Mangalore strategic reserve, the only private and foreign player so far have invested in storing in Indian strategic reserve.
  • The bilateral energy cooperation is not limited to petroleum. Spearheading climate change mitigation efforts as part of International Solar Alliance (ISA), UAE and India pledged commitment to historical Paris Agreement.
  • UAE was the sixth-largest source of crude oil for India in 2015.

UAE-India Strategic Oil Reserves Deal

  • The country has another storage site in Vizag, Andhra Pradesh with 7.55 million barrels of Iraqi oil and a third such facility in Karnataka’s Paduran, with a storage capacity of 18.3 million barrels.
  • India has already filled the other half of the Mangalore storage facility with 6 million barrels of Iranian oil.
  • India had signed an agreement with the UAE that allows the Gulf OPEC country to fill half of an underground crude oil storage facility at Mangalore, Karnataka.
  • The agreement is part of New Delhi’s strategic petroleum reserve system, an emergency underground storage of 36.87 million barrels of crude oil, which can supply around 10 days of the country’s average daily oil demand.

Possible area of cooperation

Both sides also signed MoUs on:
  • SME
  • Defense
  • Agriculture
  • Manpower
  • Human trafficking
  • Maritime/road transport
  • Entry visa exemption for diplomatic
  • Strengthening cooperation in cyber space
  • Special and official passport holders etc
Indian Diasporas has been an important driver of the UAE’s economy from the labor force to investments. India should use them as soft power for boosting Indian interests. India and UAE relationships are going through a golden phase and it needs to maintain an incremental approach to boost both interests. Long-term and Short-term interest should form a proper mix in this approach.