Modi visit: UAE’s $800 bn sovereign wealth fund likely in talks

New Delhi, Aug 12 (IANS) A key focus area of talks during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UAE on August 16-17 is expected to be the Gulf country’s estimated $800 billion sovereign wealth fund that India will seek to tap for infrastructure projects.

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) sovereign wealth fund is said to be the world’s second largest sovereign wealth fund. It is believed to be one of the investors in HDFC’s $1-billion offshore fund to finance affordable housing projects in India.

Modi’s visit comes as the UAE has appointed Ahmad Sultan Al Falahi as the new trade attache at the United Arab Emirates embassy in New Delhi.

Modi’s visit, the first by an Indian prime minister to the UAE in 34 years and his first to an Arab nation, has “been in the works for some time”.

The visit was being planned for some months, and the dates worked out to mutual benefit some time ago, official sources told IANS.

It was not being openly talked about and the announcement would have been made when the dates were fixed, said the sources.

The UAE, which is home to a 2.6 million Indian expatriate population, is the leading source of professional talent coming to the UAE — representing 28 percent, according to a study by LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network. The other countries after India are Britain, Pakistan, the US, and Qatar.

According to LinkedIn, the UAE retained its position as the world leader in attracting talent for the second consecutive year.

The India-UAE trade crossed $59 billion in 2014-15, making the country India’s third largest trading partner after China and the US.

India was the UAE’s largest non-oil trading partner in 2014. Both countries signed a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPA) in 2013.

Indians in the UAE are the largest remitters globally, and remitted $12.64 billion to their home country in 2014. India is also the third largest source of tourists travelling to the UAE.

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