Akbar to visit UAE this month

New Delhi: In a bid to further boost bilateral ties, Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar will visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on April 10-11, the External Affairs Ministry said on Friday.

“During the visit, he will be meeting his UAE counterparts and other UAE leadership and hold official discussions covering the entire gamut of bilateral, regional and international matters of mutual interest,” the ministry said in a statement.

“He will take this opportunity to also address the annual forum for the UAE’s Ambassadors being held in Abu Dhabi,” it stated.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the UAE in August 2015, which was the first prime ministerial visit from India to the Gulf nation in 34 years.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, visited India in February 2016 and then in 2017 as the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations elevating the relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Bilateral trade stands at around $50 billion. UAE is India’s third largest trading partner and for the UAE India is the largest trading partner.

The UAE is among the largest investors in India in terms of foreign direct investment. It contributes significantly to India’s energy security and has been the fifth largest supplier of crude oil to India in 2015-16.

There are around 2.6 million expatriate Indians in the UAE and their contribution to the country’s development has been well appreciated.

“This visit (of Akbar) will provide a useful opportunity to further cement our mutually beneficial bilateral ties with the UAE,” the ministry statement said.