The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will invest $2 billion in India as part of a pioneering initiative that is fired by a vision that goes beyond bilateralism and explores joint opportunities in Asia and Africa as well.

The two countries on Monday established the India-UAE High Level Task Force on Investment — a vehicle that will channel investments covering a broad spectrum of areas ranging from infrastructural development to food security.

“The UAE has a sovereign wealth fund of $627 billion and India, an emerging global economy, offers an attractive destination for investments, especially after the economic downturn in the West,” said a diplomat who did not wish to be named.

During the first meeting of the task force headed by the visiting Union Minister of Industry and Textiles Anand Sharma, and Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed al Nahayan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court, UAE pledged $2billion for the development of Indian infrastructure. The UAE and India will also work together for the development of the India’s Strategic Oil Reserve.

In a brief interaction with the media, Mr. Sharma said that a decision has been taken to form five high level sub committees that will cover the fields of infrastructure and energy, trade and investment, manufacturing and technology, and Information Technology and aviation.

India and UAE have also decided to work together in third world countries, including Africa, in energy and infrastructure sectors. Mr. Sharma stressed that India was looking at a relationship with the UAE that had joint forays in Asia and Africa in its sights. “The 21st century belongs to Asia and we look at our relationship in this broader framework,” said the minister during the course of a meeting organised on Sunday by Dubai-based Indian businessmen. Abu Dhabi could also take advantage of India’s deepening ties with East Asia, and the UAE’s geographic location presented opportunities for the two countries to work together in Africa.

"I am leading a strong delegation for the first meeting of the task force from India to take the cooperation to a new level," said Mr. Sharma.

Official sources said that India is looking for UAE’s investments in the National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NIMZ) and the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor. The Indian side is also keen that the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (Videsh) is pre-qualified to bid later this year for the Abu Dhabi onshore oil fields.

Mr. Sharma said India was determined to once again record a growth rate of 9 per cent, and later pitch for double digit growth for at least two and a half decades.

Officials said that UAE has expressed its concerns about the status of its investments in India by the telecom giant Etisalat, and the realty firm Emmar. Referring to the concerns raised by the UAE government, Mr. Sharma said that a decision has been taken to set up a committee that will address all outstanding issues within the framework of Indian law.