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India-UAE set up joint investment task force
February 18, 2013, 5:00 pm

[Getty Images]

The UAE is India’s top partner among the GCC countries. [Getty Images]

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has pledged $2 billion for the development of Indian infrastructure after a meeting between the countries in Dubai.

The announcement was made during the first meeting of a joint task force headed by Anand Sharma, the visiting Indian minister of commerce, and Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed al Nahayan, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court.

The two countries on Monday established the India-UAE High Level Task Force on Investment — to channel investments into infrastructure and food security.

Easing fears of delay in clearances, India on Sunday promised foreign investors that it will approve oil and gas projects “in 30 days flat”.

The Indian commerce minister invited Gulf businesses to take advantage of investment opportunities in India.

“The first meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Investment examined projects in the oil and gas and decisions will be taken in 30 days flat,” Sharma said while addressing the India business meet in Dubai.

Expressing India’s determination to carry forward the economic reforms programme, Sharma said that the Indian government has taken several initiatives in the past to rationalise and simplify foreign direct investment (FDI) procedures.

Bilateral trade between India and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) rose to above $145 billion in 2011-12 from $67 billion five years ago.

The GCC is a political and economic alliance of six Middle Eastern countries — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman.

Sharma said that efforts were being made to revert to a 9 per cent growth path.

The Indian economy in the current financial year is expected to decline to 5 per cent from 6.2 per cent in 2011-12.

India is targeting a $175 billion bilateral trade figure with the GCC.

The UAE is India’s top partner among the GCC countries and the second largest trading partner for India in the world after China.

India and the UAE have also decided to work together in third world countries, including Africa, in energy and infrastructure sectors.

Sharma stressed that India was looking at a relationship with the UAE that had joint ventures in Asia and Africa in its sights.

“The 21st century belongs to Asia and we look at our relationship in this broader framework,” said the commerce minister.

Official sources told the Indian agency PTI that India is looking for UAE’s investments in the National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NIMZ) and the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor.

Source: Agencies