India Discusses Opportunities To Work With UAE In A ‘Changing World’

New Delhi- Noting that the experiences from the COVID era hold lessons for both India and the United Arab Emirates, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has discussed further opportunities to work together with the Gulf kingdom in a “changing world” during a meeting with his UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Jaishankar paid a two-day visit to UAE on November 25-26. It was the second leg of his six-day three-nation tour to Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Seychelles, which began on Tuesday.

The visit is seen as important as it comes in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic that has wreaked havoc across the world.

“Was so nice to meet FM @ABZayed again. Took stock of our growing cooperation. Discussed further opportunities to work together in a changing world. Experiences from the COVID era hold lessons for both of us. Thank him for his gracious hospitality,” Jaishankar tweeted on Friday.

Jaishankar and Nahyan on Thursday held discussions on the entire range of bilateral issues, according to a press release issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

“Jaishankar briefed the UAE side on the progress made by India in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, both on the health and economic front,” it said.

Both sides reviewed their cooperation on various facets of their comprehensive strategic partnership including trade, investment, infrastructure, energy, food security and defence.

Jaishankar and Nahyan discussed recent regional and international developments and agreed to continue coordination on various multilateral issues, the MEA release said.

The external affairs minister called on Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on Wednesday and conveyed greetings from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his appreciation of the UAE leadership for taking great care of Indians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They also discussed regional and global issues of mutual interest, the release said.

The novel coronavirus has infected over 163,000 people and claimed 563 lives in the UAE.

Jaishankar also virtually met the representatives of the Indian community associations in Abu Dhabi.

During the virtual meeting on Thursday, the minister appreciated the work of the Indian associations in taking care of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. He assured them of the government’s responsiveness on issues pertaining to post-COVID normalcy, the release said.

According to the website of the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, the Indian expatriate community of approximately 30.4 lakh is reportedly the largest ethnic community in the UAE, constituting roughly about 30 per cent of the country’s population.

Among the Indian states, Kerala is the most represented, followed by Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. However, Indians from the northern states, all put together, also form a significant portion of the UAE Indian population, it noted.

The Indian government has organised several flights under the Vande Bharat Mission, allowing thousands of Indian expatriates to leave the UAE amidst the pandemic.

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