India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday sketched out the outlines of a road map, centred on a new partnership rooted in energy security and investments, to firm up their ties.

Official sources said India was looking for larger volumes of crude imports from the UAE to meet its growing needs. “Usually, these transactions take place in the form of annual contracts. The UAE… has agreed to look at increasing the volumes when the next annual contract is due [for review],” the sources said.

Analysts point out that while the quantum of oil exports can increase, the price would fluctuate in accordance with market conditions. Going beyond a buyer-seller relationship, India is looking for avenues in oil exploration in the UAE.

At a press conference at the end of a meeting of the India-UAE Joint Commission, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna explained the rationale behind India's growing energy demands. “Looking at its trajectory of growth of 7-8 per cent, India has to expand the imports of oil and gas… from countries like the UAE, with which we enjoy extraordinary ties,” he said.

Mr. Krishna's counterpart, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said the time had come to “push forward the UAE-India relationship in new ways.” 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 in developing its infrastructure.

Mr. Krishna pointed out that Sheikh Abdullah would visit India next month to examine, in greater detail, the possibility of utilising the UAE's substantial sovereign fund for the development of India's infrastructure.

In line with the stratospheric rise in trade, which is now $67 billion, the India-UAE avoidance of double taxation agreement was updated on Monday and brought on a par with international standards. The article on exchange of information was amended to bring within its purview exchange of information related to the banking sectors.

Joint panel

The two sides also proposed the establishment of a joint committee to address “consular issues” related to birth or death registration, travel documents, and “quasi-judicial” matters involving the detention or arrest of nationals of both countries.