Go green together, President Pratibha Patil told Indian and Emirati businessmen, urging them to turn their attention to agricultural cooperation as well, while inaugurating the Indian Trade and Exhibition Centre in Sharjah.

“In India, agriculture is the biggest private business… 40 per cent of farming activity is dry land farming. We want to green our arid areas,” she said, adding, “The UAE also wants to go green, so let us work together.”

Winding up her five-day goodwill tour of the United Arab Emirates on Thursday, she discussed a diverse range of issues, including cooperation in the security, energy, infrastructure and trade sectors with the Rulers of Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

At Sharjah, Ms. Pratibha Patil stayed on track focussing on “taking India-UAE economic relations to new heights,” exploiting the UAE's “excellent infrastructure and trade and investment friendly policies.”

The Centre, set up to promote trade ties between India and the Emirate of Sharjah, the UAE, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) countries, the President said, should work in close cooperation with the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Confederation of Indian Industry and other Indian export promotion organisations.

Later, addressing members of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the pyramid-shaped Raffles Hotel in Dubai, she urged the UAE's investor community to participate in India's growth story and called for the reactivation of the India-UAE Joint Business Council and the India-UAE Joint Commission for Economic, Technical and Scientific Co-operation (JCM), increased participation in specialised trade fairs and exhibitions, and partnerships in the energy and agriculture sectors.

Oil sector

“Both countries must consider more cooperation between their respective oil-industry sectors for establishing a long-term relationship in the field of petrochemical industries, not only in India and the UAE, but in third countries also,” the President said.

Meanwhile, V. R. S. Natarajan, who is heading the 56-member business delegation from India, stressed that India and the UAE had “recognised the inescapable need to enlarge the trade basket.” If the two countries were to “ remain in sync with the emerging global economic architecture and to retain their economic worthiness,” he told the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, it was “imperative for investors, investment agencies and business from India and the UAE to initiate the process of becoming equal partners.”

Mr. Natarajan also emphasised that the rail and transportation sector in the UAE, particularly the plans for the expansion of the Dubai Metro, would throw up opportunities for Indian business.

Ms. Pratibha Patil said the large presence of Indian business companies in the UAE could “act as a springboard to elevate our economic partnership to new levels.”

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