India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday sketched out the broad outlines of a roadmap, centered around a new partnership in the fields of energy security and investments, which would help steer their ties in the future.
Official sources said that India was looking for larger volumes of crude oil from the UAE to meet its growing energy needs. “Usually these transactions take place in the form of annual contracts. The UAE side has agreed to look at increasing the volumes at the time when the next annual contract is due,” the sources said. Analysts point out that while the quantum of oil exports can increase, the price would fluctuate in accordance with the market conditions. Going beyond a buyer-seller relationship, India was also looking for avenues in the oil exploration sector in the UAE.
At a press conference that was jointly addressed at the end of the India-UAE Joint Commission meeting, the visiting External Affairs Minister, S.M. Krishna explained the rationale behind India’s growing energy demands. “Looking at the trajectory of India’s growth of 7-8 per cent, India has to expand the imports of oil and gas sourced from countries like the UAE, with whom we enjoy extraordinary ties,” he said. Mr. Krishna’s host and counterpart, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan suggested that the time had arrived to “push forward the UAE-India relationship in new ways”. He said that fresh opportunities were emerging in tune with the high demand for UAE investments in India, and on account of India’s expanding energy needs.
With investments of around a trillion dollars required over the next decade, India is looking for Abu Dhabi’s participation for the development of its infrastructure. Mr. Krishna said that Sheikh Abdullah would be visiting India next month to examine in greater detail the possibility of utilising UAE’s substantial sovereign fund for the development of India’s infrastructure.
In line with the stratospheric rise in trade, which has now risen to 67 billion dollars, the India-UAE avoidance of double taxation agreement was updated on Monday, and brought at par with international standards. Specifically, the article on exchange of information has been amended to bring within its purview, information exchange related to the banking sectors.
The two sides also proposed the establishment of a Joint Committee that would address “consular issues” related to birth or death registration, travel documents, such as passports and visas, as well as “quasi-judicial” matters involving detention or arrest, affecting the nationals of both countries.