Trading links between India and UAE have existed since long. Growing Indo-UAE economic and commercial relations contribute valuable stability and strength to bilateral relationship between the two countries. The UAE enjoys a broad and comprehensive economic relationship with the India, based on mutual interests.
The current bilateral trade volume tells that this is exciting time in the history of UAE-India economic relations. According to government of India figures UAE is India’s top trading partner for the financial year 2008-09, simultaneously The UAE government figures shows India as their top trading partner in 2008.
According to government of India figures, the bilateral trade between India - UAE for the financial year April 2008 – March 2009 was US$ 44.53 billion compared to US$ 29.11 billion during the same period in April 2007– March 2008, an increase by 52.95 %.
According to UAE government figures, in 2008 the UAE - India bilateral trade rose 48 per cent from 2007 to reach around USD 32 billion, accounting for 15 per cent of the Emirates’ total foreign trade.
Indian exports to UAE mainly include gems and jewelry, vegetables, fruit, spices, engineering goods, tea, meat and its preparations, rice, textiles and apparel and chemicals. Indian imports from UAE mainly include crude & petroleum products, gold & silver, pearls, precious and semiprecious stones, metal ores & metal scrap, electronics goods and transport equipment.
UAE investment in India is also witnessed a significant growth in recent years. UAE has invested over USD 5 billion in India through FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) and FII (Foreign Institutional Investors) routes which makes UAE is one of the top investor in India. The major UAE companies invested in India are DP world, Emaar Group, Al Nakheel, ETA Star Group, SS Lootah Group, Emirates Techno Casting FZE, RAK Investment Authority, Damas Jewellery and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.
India is also a third largest investor in UAE. Indian companies like L&T, Punj Lloyd, Hinduja Group, Pioneer Cement, Oberoi Group of Hotels, have bagged projects in the UAE. Following the emergence of UAE as a major re-export centre, Indian companies have emerged as important investors in the free trade zones such as Jebel Ali FTZ, Sharjah Airport, Hamariya Free Zones and Abu Dhbai Industrial City.
The notable reason of strong Indo-UAE economic ties is huge expatriate Indian population in UAE. Almost 2 million Indian expatriates currently live and work in the UAE, comprising more than 30 per cent of the national population and constituting the Emirates’ largest expatriate group. The expatriate community also contributes to Indian economy. The total remittances to India from the UAE in 2008-09 were about USD 10 -12 billion, which is around one third of all the total remittances from the GCC countries to India which is around USD 32-25 billion.
Air Links between two countires
There are over 475 flights per week between various destinations in India and UAE, shared by Emirates, Etihad, Air Arabia, Kingfisher, Jet Airways, Air India and Air India Express. Out of this three UAE national airlines (Emirates, Etihad and Air Arabia) operate about 304 flights per week which represents approximately 64% of total flights operated in this sector.
India and United Arab Emirates also have Air Services Agreement (ASA). The Agreement allows both the countries to designate any number of airlines for operation of mutually agreed services for which the respective country shall grant appropriate authorization and permission.