UAE Ignores Pakistan for India, and India for China?

Recently, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the UAE for strengthening the bilateral relations, a visit widely hailed and covered by the media. The Arab Media mentions that even though much of the UAE’s attention was on China last week, but people and businesses in the UAE would neither forget nor neglect its long-standing and strategically valuable relationship with India. EurAsian Times analyses an Arab News report.

The report states that the UAE remains home to approximately 3.3 million Indians, the most number of expatriates living in the country, and even more than the Emiratis themselves. Many of these people constitute a significant part of the UAE’s business community.

even though hotels in the uae have catered the Indian market, they are increasingly enticing the Chinese tourists”

The report says that the significance of India’s economic contribution to the UAE is invaluable. In the last four years, the importance of this relationship has been accentuated by three top-level state visits to the UAE, two of them, in 2015 and 2018, by Indian PM Narendra Modi.

In 2017, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan was welcomed with full zeal and zest to be the Chief Guest for India’s Republic Day celebrations. The crown prince joined the elite guest list of being part of India’s Republic Day, like Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin.

From an economic viewpoint, Indian nationals have a very obvious influence in the UAE. The report exemplifies the real estate sector, where (according to Dubai Land Department statistics) Indians have purchased real-estate worth a whopping $22.6bn in the UAE.

In India, UAE organisations continue to find large business opportunities. In the last several weeks alone, a DP World joint venture in the country acquired a 90% stake in a warehousing corporation, and reports indicate that the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) will invest $1bn to acquire a stake in an India-listed petrochemicals business. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, the report states. In ADIA’s case, the firm had already signed a $1bn investment deal with India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund.

According to a recent report from Arabia Monitor, cumulative trade between the UAE and China totalled $124.9B between 2014 and 2016, compared to $121.5B in a  cumulative trade with India. Since then, the competition has only intensified, with Chinese non-oil trade with the UAE totalling $47.92B in 2017, compared to $26.95B for India.

In the tourism sector, India remains the most influential market, with 963,000 visitors coming to Dubai between January and May 2018, in comparison to 401,000 Chinese visitors.

The UAE cannot affoed to neglect the huge Indian market, despite increased competition from China. The UAE could afford to somehow neglect Pakistan for India, but seeing the long historical relations between two nations, which even predates the UAE itself, India will continue to remain the most valued country for the UAE.

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