India – United Arab Emirates Relations (Essay)

free essayThe United Arab Emirates relations with India, including political, economic, cultural, and social ties, date back to the beginning of the twentieth century. Now those relationships are strengthening, the bilateral trade between UAE and India is growing, people-to-people interactions are constantly increasing, and the tourists from both states are visiting for pleasure, because the sphere of tourism is developing too. Moreover, such close relations can be explained by the fact that the largest diaspora in the United Arab Emirates is the Indian community, which consists of about 1.5 million of people (Embassy of the UAE in New Delhi, 2017).

The Historical Ties

The relations between the United Arab Emirates and India are constantly developing. It is clear that the two countries have strong links in fields of economy, technology, society, and culture. This partnership is reciprocally profitable for both peoples. However, the main impulse to advance the relationship arose with the visit of Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Foreign Minister of UAE, to India in June, 2007. During this meeting, the two sides had a productive and considerate discussion on a vast array of issues, including security in region, social situation in India, and renewable energy. On the part of the Indian government, Pranab Mukherjee, the Indian Minister of External Affairs, and Kamal Nath, the Commerce and Industry Minister of India, visited the United Arab Emirates in May and April of 2008 respectively.

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Moreover, it is important to add that the relations between India and the United Arab Emirates were not only determined by economy and trade. Indians have existed in the UAE much longer, even before the discovery of oil. They have always played an important role in the evolution of the United Arab Emirates as active partners. The UAE leaders admitted that great contributions to diverse fields was made by Indians.

Economic Relations


The United Arab Emirates and India work tirelessly to increase and develop bilateral trade relations. Those interactions have evolved into an important partnership of the two countries in the economic sphere, with UAE being the second biggest market for the Indian goods. Simultaneously, India is a significant export destination for the United Arab Emirates products.

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According to the reports of the Indian Government, in 2014-2015 trade between these two states crossed US$ 59bn, with exports of India worth US$ 33.3bn to the UAE and and exports to India evaluated at US$ 26bn, consequently turning UAE into the top trading partner of India (Consulate General India in Dubai, 2016). The most prominent items of Indian export include mineral fuels, cereals, fabrics, metals, natural or cultured pearls, jewelry, marine products, tea, meat, and other products. The main import items from the UAE are mineral fuels and oils, precious or semi-precious stones, Sulphur, iron and steel, electrical machinery, etc (Embassy of the UAE in New Delhi, 2017).

Moreover, a big part of export from India to the United Arab Emirates is transshipped from the UAE capital to others states in the Middle East, such as Pakistan, Iran, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. In this way, Indian exports to the UAE opened up a large regional market for Indian goods.


Although Dubai is a significant destination for investment, it has a developing representation in India. For example, Dubai Ports World functions at Nhava Sheva International Container Terminal Private Limited, Chennai Container Terminal Private Limited, and India Gateway Terminal at Cochin (Consulate General India in Dubai, 2016). The Vallarpadam Rajiv Gandhi Terminal that was developed by Dubai Ports World is now a major Indian International Container Trans-shipment.

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Further, India is the home for an agency of RAK ceramics, a prominent UAE conglomerate with large tiles production. The Emar MGF began to operate in New Delhi in 2005 in residential, merchant, retail, and hospitability sectors, focusing on growth of Delhi residential projects and other major Indian cities. Last but not the least is TECOM investment, instituted in 2005 and aimed to construct, control, and advance the vertical business parks under Dubai Holding (Consulate General India in Dubai, 2016). Its two first international developments were SmartCity Malta and SmartCity Kochi. The last one successfully serves the Indian Continent.

Other Economic Interactions

It is important to add that the businessmen and different kinds of traders from India have contributed crucially to the economic fabric of the United Arab Emirates. Moreover, Indian practitioners hold key positions in many banks, business companies, and other institutions in the UAE. Untrained or semi-skilled Indian workers are a prevailing force in the construction related activities. Additionally, a great number of India’s most significant companies are present in Dubai. Such establishments as L & T, HCL Infosystems, Hinduja Group, Danube, Indian Oil Corporation, Essar Group, State Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Axis Bank, and many others successfully operate in the United Arab Emirates (Consulate General of India in Dubai, 2016).

Political and Social Relations

Regardless of historical links, civilizational closeness, geographical location, increasing economic mutuality, and the existence of a big Indian labor force in the Gulf, political relations between India and the whole Middle East region have been strained for a long time by the Pakistan factor. For a long while the religious linkages among the Middle Eastern states prevailed, leaving India and its problems in the shadows. India was suffering from religious political disputes with Islamabad, terrorism, criminal networks, and violent extremism. Then, the support suddenly came from the United Arab Emirates, which had understood the deep changes in the region threatening the Gulf (Mohan, 2015). Earlier, the countries of the Middle East could allow themselves to look the other way regarding religious extremism and terrorism used by Pakistan as an instrument of foreign policy. However, now the Middle Eastern states cannot feel secure anymore, realizing that such actions are a constant threat to the Gulf and its political order, which has existed in its present state for a long time. Thus, the region, especially the United Arab Emirates, began to appreciate the concerns of India in regards to the threat of terrorism.

How It Works

What is more, the United Arab Emirates has played a crucial role in reducing poverty in India. This was mainly done through economic assistance and investments. By accelerating the economic growth, rapid development of the Indian infrastructure, and growing numbers of non-farm employees, the United Arab Emirates have facilitated the process of decrease of poverty in India. Additionally, the huge number of work places in the UAE given to Indians has become an important factor in helping to combat the poverty in India.

Representatives of the two countries are constantly holding meetings at the heads of states, ambassadors, and foreign ministers level. Among the most recent and prominent meetings was the visit of Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to India in January, 2017. He proclaimed a new era in the relationship of India and the United Arab Emirates. Many important decisions were made, including organizing conferences and seminars to promote peace values, promoting regular exchanges of scholars and intellectuals, importing Indian educational institutions to the United Arab Emirates, so the young generation will be able to gain knowledge in certain disciplines, etc (Vohra, 2017).

Achievements and Perspectives

Both countries see their relations as profitable and advantageous and try to expand their bilateral ties even more in order to gain benefits in the modern, constantly transforming, interdependent world. Due to this international cooperation, Indian economy continues to grow rapidly. Moreover, the IMF has recently forecast that India will grow 7.6% this and the next fiscal year from 7.4 per cent estimated in July for both years (Augustine & Rahman, 2016).

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However, while it is quite easy to understand that India has great advantages from strong cooperation with an ally such as the United Arab Emirates, because such relationships make India stronger, richer, improve its status on the international stage, help overcome poverty and other social problems, it seems more important to realize why this close collaboration is so important for the United Arab Emirates. This is quite easy to explain. The main reason for such huge investments in India is the lack of human resources and cheap labor. The United Arab Emirates is developing rapidly in recent years, so the state constantly needs a huge number of workers in various fields. Clearly, India understands its responsibility to provide the appropriate returns on the UAE investments and to keep the United Arab Emirates interested in the Indian market (Roy & Quamar, 2017). Additionally, the UAE realizes that India is a developing nuclear country with a big potential and it can be a good ally in the unstable Middle East region.


In conclusion, the UAE and India’s century-old fruitful interaction has developed into a comprehensive strategic partnership. It can be referred to as a bilateral relationship, which has become quite mature and multidimensional due to powerful and constant cooperation of India and the United Arab Emirates. In addition to developing business relations between two countries, closer ties on other types of issues, such as security, terrorism, or education, are evolving. The diplomatic circles of the United Arab Emirates and India agree that collaboration between the two countries has a great potential for being beneficial.

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