Narendra Modi to visit Palestine, UAE, Oman; push for deeper cooperation in trade and energy security

New Delhi: Ramping up cooperation in trade, investment and energy security will be the crucial areas of discussion when Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Palestine, the UAE and Oman starting Friday.

During his visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman, Modi will meet the CEOs of various companies in the Gulf region, Mridul Kumar, joint secretary (Gulf) in the Ministry of External Affairs, said on Monday.

India is the Guest of Honour country at the sixth World Government Summit to be held in Dubai.

Modi will be addressing the summit with a focus on technology for development. This, Kumar said, would also provide a platform to the prime minister to engage with the world community.

 Narendra Modi to visit Palestine, UAE, Oman; push for deeper cooperation in trade and energy security

File image of the seal of the Gulf Cooperation Council. AP

Modi's three-nation visit will conclude on 12 February.

On 10 February, he will reach Palestine, where he will hold talks with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. He will also visit the Yasser Arafat Museum and lay a wreath there.

Five-six MoUs are expected to be signed during the prime minister's visit to Ramallah.

On 10 February itself, Modi will arrive in the UAE and address the sixth World Government Summit in Dubai. This will be Modi's second visit to the UAE. He had first visited the country as prime minister in August, 2015.

Modi will also hold talks with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed.

Kumar said India and the UAE had signed the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership agreement in 2017 and the engagement would be in that context.

Energy has been one of the key aspects of India's engagement with the Gulf countries, including the UAE and Oman.

Kumar said the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) — a political and economic alliance of six countries (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman) — accounted for 20 percent of India's trade.

India gets 50 percent of its oil and 60-65 percent of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the GCC. As many as 90 lakh Indians stay in the Gulf and send $35 billion every year in terms of remittance, Kumar noted.

"Beyond the buyer-seller relationship, we have now moved into the strategic sphere in terms of our energy security," he added.

As regards the UAE, Kumar said, "We have moved very strongly not only in (the) energy (sector), (but) an agreement was (also) signed for their participation in the Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited. The UAE also became the first partner in the NIIF (National Investment and Infrastructure Fund)."

India's first strategic oil reserve is coming up in Mangalore with the help of the UAE and it has a capacity to store 5.86 million barrels.

Modi will leave for Oman on 11 February and will have engagements there until 12 February.

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Updated Date: Feb 06, 2018 06:59:41 IST