Foreign Policy Watch: India-Middle East

A privileged strategic partnership, without a gulf


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : na

Mains level : comprehensive overview of the evolving India-UAE relationship



I2U2 lies at the core of India-UAE relationship - Hindustan Times

Central Idea:

The article highlights the deepening and multifaceted relationship between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), focusing on various aspects such as economic ties, strategic partnerships, cultural exchanges, and shared interests in global affairs.

Key Highlights:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to the UAE signifies the strengthening of bilateral relations, marked by frequent high-level engagements.
  • The inauguration of the BAPS temple in Abu Dhabi underscores the growing acceptance and promotion of cultural diversity in the UAE.
  • Economic cooperation between India and the UAE has surged, with bilateral trade reaching $85 billion and significant investments in various sectors.
  • The UAE is a key partner for India in areas such as energy security, defense cooperation, and people-to-people ties.
  • Both countries have demonstrated exceptional gestures of friendship and cooperation, despite regional complexities and geopolitical challenges.
  • Strategic collaborations extend beyond bilateral relations to include participation in international forums and infrastructure projects.

Burning Issue] India-UAE Relations - Civilsdaily

Key Challenges:

  • Despite strong ties, there may be occasional divergences in interests and priorities between India and the UAE.
  • Regional conflicts and geopolitical tensions could pose challenges to the stability of the bilateral relationship.
  • Maintaining momentum in economic cooperation and addressing barriers to trade and investment require continued efforts.
  • Balancing relations with other regional actors, especially in the context of the Middle East, remains a delicate task for both countries.

Main Terms:

  • Bilateral Relations: Mutual interactions and agreements between two countries.
  • Economic Partnership: Collaborative efforts to enhance trade, investment, and economic cooperation.
  • Strategic Cooperation: Joint efforts to address common security challenges and pursue shared interests.
  • Cultural Exchange: Promotion of cultural understanding and appreciation through mutual exchanges.
  • Energy Security: Ensuring stable and reliable access to energy resources.
  • Global Leadership: A position of influence and responsibility in shaping international affairs.

Important Phrases:

  • “Strategic partnership agreements”
  • “Global leadership role”
  • “Economic engagement”
  • “Cultural diplomacy”
  • “Mutual respect”
  • “Strategic cooperation”
  • “International forums”
  • “Geopolitical challenges”


  • “India-UAE relationship is one of the most prominent bilateral relationships for New Delhi.”
  • “The UAE is India’s trusted partner in energy security.”
  • “Both countries recognise that this privileged strategic partnership is only set to grow stronger in the years ahead.”



  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reception at the World Government Summit in Dubai as the ‘Guest of Honour’.
  • Conferment of the UAE’s top civilian honour, the Order of Zayed, upon Prime Minister Modi during his visit to the UAE.
  • India’s participation in the Abu Dhabi Festival as the ‘Guest of Honour’ in 2018.

Useful Statements:

  • “The visit underscores the deepening ties and mutual cooperation between India and the UAE.”
  • “Both countries have demonstrated exceptional gestures of friendship and cooperation.”
  • “The bilateral relationship faces challenges but remains resilient.”

Examples and References:

  • India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement
  • Participation in international forums like the G-20 summit
  • Establishment of IIT Delhi Abu Dhabi campus and UAE consulate in Hyderabad

Facts and Data:

  • Bilateral trade between India and the UAE reached $85 billion in 2022-23.
  • India’s export destination: UAE is the second-largest.
  • UAE is India’s third-largest trading partner.

Critical Analysis:

The article provides a comprehensive overview of the evolving India-UAE relationship, highlighting its strategic, economic, and cultural dimensions. It underscores the significance of the partnership amidst regional complexities and global challenges. However, it also acknowledges potential areas of divergence and the need for sustained efforts to overcome them.

Way Forward:

  • Strengthening economic cooperation through trade facilitation and investment promotion.
  • Enhancing strategic collaboration in areas of mutual interest, including defense and energy security.
  • Deepening cultural ties through continued exchanges and collaborative initiatives.
  • Addressing regional challenges through constructive dialogue and diplomacy.
  • Leveraging the privileged partnership to contribute positively to global issues and regional stability.

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