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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 26.01.2017

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee yesterday (January 25, 2017) receivedHis Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forcesat Rashtrapati Bhavan. He also hosted a banquet in his honour.

WelcomingtheCrown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the President said this State visit is a reflection of the warm relations and intensifying co-operation between India and the UAE. With our shared vision, we are committed to take our partnership to the highest strategic level as we realise its true potential. This State visit provides an opportunity to further enhance co-operation between India and UAE.

The President said the well-balanced bilateral trade turnover between India and UAE has been impressive. The bilateral trade during 2015-16 was US $ 49.729 billion. UAE is amongst India’s largest trade partners. To realise the potential for further growth, we have agreed to increase the bilateral trade by 60 % in 2020.

Subsequently, in his banquet speech, President Pranab Mukherjee saidwith India's plans for rapid growth in the infrastructure sector, our Government’s liberalisation of foreign direct investment and as one of the fast growing economies in the world, India holds immense possibilities for investments. The President reiterated India’s invitation to business houses of the United Arab Emirates to participate in our flagship projects like "Make in India”, "Digital India” and "Smart Cities” programmes. India looks forward to a robust partnership with UAE in our National Infrastructure Investment Fund.

The President said we, in India, rejoice at the giant strides of progress and prosperity made by our friends in the United Arab Emirates. The Indian private sector is pleased to have made substantial investments in UAE. India's companies are globally reputed and have rich experience in executing infrastructure projects of the highest standards. They are keen to partner in the preparations for the World EXPO 2020 in Dubai. It is a matter of satisfaction that even as the two countries strengthen our ongoing engagement and co-operation, our Governments are currently exploring new avenues to expand it. Joint defence production, space and renewable energy have been identified as priorities.

The President reiterated the urgent need for responsible nations to continue collective efforts against the forces of extremism, terrorism and intolerance which attempt to weaken the very fabric of our societies. He said it is in the shared interest of both countries to work for peace and stability in both West Asia as well as South Asia.

This release issued at 1500 hrs.