UAE investors are likely to announce plans in various sectors

The UAE-India ties have entered an exciting era of growth and both nations are on track to significantly reinforce two-way investments through multiple channels and new areas of collaboration, the Indian envoy to the UAE said on Tuesday.

“Given the strong bilateral ties and opportunities that exist, India is confident of attracting increased investment flow from the UAE,” Ambassador Navdeep Singh Suri said.

He noted that the vibrant two-way investment landscape has received a major fillip in the wake of the exchange of high-level state visits by leaders of the UAE and India, he said.

The size of investments from the UAE in India is estimated to be around $10 billion, including foreign direct investment of $5 billion. According to estimates by reliable Indian business sources, the size of investments in the UAE by Indians could exceed $80 billion, including billions invested in the real estate sector.

“Soon, we can expect announcements from major UAE investors, including the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, about their plans in various sectors, particularly in India’s infrastructure,” Suri said at a media briefing to announce the India-UAE Partnership Summit (IUPS) to be held in Dubai on October 30 and 31.

The Indian envoy said remarkable progress was achieved in resolving several legacy investment issues faced by the UAE’s corporate giants in India even as both countries work towards boosting investments in line with the landmark announcement made by the UAE about its goal to invest $75 billion in India.

“Today, we are cooperating across a wide spectrum of areas, including such strategic areas as space and defence. Both countries are all set to leverage on mutual strengths and create synergies to help achieve their respective national economic visions,” said the ambassador.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi also set a target of achieving a 60 per cent increase in bilateral trade in the next five years. The two-way trade recorded more than six per cent growth to $53 billion in 2016-17.

The two-day summit, to be held at the Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa, will be attended by more than 800 delegates from India and the UAE, including top government officials, private entrepreneurs and business leaders belonging to Corporate UAE and Corporate India.

Focused on “investment implementation,” the IUPS will deliberate on how important projects in India could be financed and executed with the participation of business houses from the UAE. It will also review trade and investment relations between the two countries in light of the joint statement adopted by the two nations during the visit of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in January 2017 to India.

Vipul, Consul-General of India, said the summit would bring together the public and private sectors of both countries and help create a new eco-system that will “help channel investment, boost trade and socio-economic cooperation that will see continuous engagement to ensure smooth flow of investment into India and the UAE.”

“Governments’ vision can’t become successful without the active participation of the private sector,” added Vipul.

Dr Azad Moopen, president of the Business Leaders Forum (BLF) and founder chairman of Aster DM Healthcare Group, said the IUPS would provide the first breakthrough in the quest by NRIs and UAE nationals to support both economies in a bigger way.

“We are not talking about setting up companies or industries – but taking part in mid- to large-size projects that will help the economies. As the platform formed by high-net worth NRIs and UAE nationals, the BLF wants to synergise our resources to contribute to the economies of India and the UAE,” said Dr Moopen.

Paras Shahdadpuri, vice-president of BLF and chairman of Nikai Group of Companies, said there had been a paradigm shift in the UAE-India relationship – from being traditional economic partners to now strategic partners – after the historic visit of Prime Minister Modi to the UAE.

“At this stage, it is important for the private sector, and particularly we as NRIs, to join hands with our Emirati investor friends to encourage investments in India. As investors in both the countries, we feel there is a strong need among ourselves to play a greater role in reshaping the destinies of our two great countries,” said Shahdadpuri.

Sudesh Aggarwal, board member and sector chairman – investments of BLF, chairman of Giant Group and India Trade and Exhibition Centre, said the IUPS would be a game-changing summit and redefine the role of the private sector in realising the governments’ vision.

“The event will help generate new ideas on how the UAE’s private sector businesses can leverage their complementary strengths to raise funds to finance major infrastructure projects,” said Aggarwal.

Sripriyaa Kumaria, director-general of ITEC m.e. and the secretary-general of BLF, said the flagship event IUPS would provide a platform for the private sector to play an active role in public development efforts and create an ideal public-private partnership across India and the UAE.

“IUPS is the only bilateral summit where ministers of Government of India as well as the UAE will participate,” said Kumaria.