Why did it take 34 years for an Indian prime minister to visit the UAE? Relations between the two countries have always been strong. There have been thriving trade ties between both, the UAE employs more than two and a half million Indians, mostly low paid labor, but nevertheless an important source of income for many more million dependents living in India. The UAE is the third trade partner of India after The United States and China, and the Middle East at large is India’s first trade partner. India’s energy supplies are largely dependent on oil coming from the region. India can greatly benefit from positive relations with the UAE to solve – or at least mitigate – its conflict with Pakistan over Kashmir, and as importantly it needs cooperation from Muslim and Arab countries in order to counter terrorism.
One possible reason for the delay in building a strategic relationship between the UAE and India had to do with the UAE’s relationship with Pakistan, which until a few months ago had been exceptionally strongAbdullah Hamidaddin