In a major move to further boost bilateral economic ties, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has operationalised a USD 75 billion sovereign fund for India of which USD one billion has already been transfered, the Gulf nation's envoy said today. Diplomatic sources said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to visit Abu Dhabi, the capital of UAE, in February to attend a global leadership summit. On the sovereign fund, UAE Ambassador to India Ahmed Albanna said operationalisation of the USD 75 billion sovereign fund for India reflects UAE's commitment to significantly improve trade and investment ties. He said USD one billion has already been transferred to India's National Infrastructure and Investment Fund.
It was not clear when the entire amount will be transferred or the conditions related to the investment. Abu Dhabi has a sovereign wealth fund of about USD 800 billion. India has been eyeing the fund, parked with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, for its infrastructure sector. The issue was discussed during Modi's visit to UAE in August 2016. Albanna, during a media interaction, said India-UAE cooperation was moving fast in various areas including in containing terrorism and radicalisation. "We are working closely to defeat terrorism," he said. The envoy said UAE will soon open visa and consular services centres in Hyderabad, Chandigarh and Chennai. The UAE embassy has also launched a mobile app to help Indians living in the Gulf in dealing with visa and work related issues. The ties between India and the UAE are on an upswing. India is UAE's number one trading partner and the annual trade currently stands at around USD 53 billion. UAE, a major player in the Gulf region, is a strategically important country for India. The country is home to around 2.6 million Indians who constitute nearly 30 per cent of its population. The country contributes significantly to India's energy security and was the fifth-largest supplier of crude oil to India in 2016-17.
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