India invites UAE to participate in National Investment Infra fund

New Delhi (IANS) India on Thursday invited the UAE to participate in the Rs.20,000 crore National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) in order to give a push to infrastructure projects in India and also urged the Gulf country to take advantage of “present business friendly environment” to make the partnership stronger.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, addressing the 11th India-UAE Joint Commission Meeting here, saod that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is scheduled to visit UAE for a bilateral meeting and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is also headed to that country for the 3rd High Level Task Force on Investment.

Addressing the meeting, which was attended by UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Minister of State Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimy, she said that during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the country on August 16-17 both sides had agreed to increase bilateral trade by 60 percent during the next five years.

“I am sure that the identification of new areas of trade and the signature of the Double Taxation avoidance agreement and the Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement, will help us in achieving this goal.”

The government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative offers scope for UAE investors in around 25 sectors including infrastructure, energy including renewable energy, defence, railways and highways, she noted.

She said during Modi’s visit it was decided that investment agencies in the UAE would be encouraged to make investments in infrastructure in India.

“We have recently announced the National Infrastructure Investment Fund and we sincerely hope that Abu Dhabi Investment Authority can look at investments of 10-20 percent of equity. The Fund is envisaged to be a commercial body which would be operated in a commercial manner. This would also give the UAE companies an edge when specific projects are announced,” she said.

Sushma Swaraj said both countries have emerged as “strong voices against terrorism. The rejection of extremism and any link between religion and terrorism articulated by the two sides in the joint statement issued during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to UAE has found resonance across the international community”.

“Our two countries have rightly denounced and opposed terrorism in all forms and manifestations and called all states to reject and abandon the use of terrorism against other countries. We should work together for the early adoption of India’s proposed Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the United Nations,” she said.

She said the UAE is a second home, away from home in India, to over 2.6 million Indians. She thanked the leadership of United Arab Emirates “for their vision and far-sighted policies. The Indian community in United Arab Emirates is vibrant and has also played a significant role in nurturing and further strengthening the friendly relations between the two countries”.

With regard to consular issues Sushma requested the UAE side to timely share with India information about arrest or detention of any Indian national or of Indian nationals already in UAE jails. “It would help us in taking necessary action and providing them consular services. I also hope that the educational needs of the Indian children would be given continued attention by the UAE leadership as has been done over the last many decades,” she said.

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