Chief Minister of Indian State Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan visited Dubai to discuss trade, foreign investment and food security, Emirati state media agency WAM reported on Wednesday.
The Indian official’s visit coincides with the international exhibition Expo 2020’s ‘Kerala Week’ where the on-site Indian pavilion is expected to attract investment opportunities through thematic weeks.
Vijayan met with a host of Dubai’s leaders including the emirate’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and the Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, according to the WAM report.
During his meeting with the Dubai ruler, growing investments in renewable energy, logistical services, air transport and food security were highlighted with Sheikh Mohammed expressing the UAE’s desire to “expand economic and investment cooperation with India and further strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries,” according to WAM.
The WAM report also claimed India to be the UAE’s second largest trading partner in the world while the UAE is India's third largest and the most important in the Arab world.
Vijayan noted that the two countries have “significantly enhanced their ties in recent years,” as evidenced by the growing bilateral trade, WAM reported.
The UAE is home to hundreds of thousands of Kerala-natives who share a diverse portfolio of businesses in the region, including the renowned Yusuff Ali, the chairman of the LuLu Group International and Second Deputy Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Chamber.
Yusuff Ali was also present at the meeting between Vijayan and Dubai’s leaders.
Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan, meanwhile, identified opportunities for “future partnerships” with the Indian official reported WAM without giving further details.
On the sidelines of the Expo 2020 visit, Vijayan also met with Abdulla Mohammed al-Mazrui, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the chamber’s office in the UAE’s capital city.
A long-due free trade agreement between India and the UAE “is at its final stages” reiterated Sunjay Sudhir, India’s Ambassador to the UAE, who was reportedly present at the Abu Dhabi meeting.
This agreement will curb barriers to trade by reducing customs duty, improving mutual market access, guarantee the rights of investors, and uphold patents and trademarks.
Following a discussion that cemented additional business ties with Kerala’s private sector companies, Vijayan reportedly invited an economic delegation from the Abu Dhabi Chamber to visit the Indian state and “take a closer look at the available investment opportunities in diverse sectors, especially in agriculture, industry and tourism” the report quoted.