India, UAE hold strategic dialogue

New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) Ahead of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s arrival here as chief guest for this year’s Republic Day celebrations, India and the UAE held their first strategic dialogue here on Friday.

“Setting the stage for an important visit. 1st #IndiaUAE Strategic Dialogue takes place in Delhi before visit of Crown Prince next week,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.

Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar and his United Arab Emirates (UAE) counterpart Anwar Mohammed Gargash headed the respective delegations.

Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UAE in August 2015, the two countries had agreed to elevate the mutually beneficial relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Sheikh Mohamed, who reaches here on January 24, will be on his second visit to India since February 2016.

Bilateral trade between India and the UAE stood at about $50 billion in 2015-16.

The Gulf nation is among the top investors in India in terms of foreign direct investments and was the fifth largest supplier of crude oil to India in 2015-16.

At 2.6 million, Indians form the largest expatriate group in the UAE.