Union Minister of Commerce Industry and Textiles Shri Anand Sharma left for a two-day visit to United Arab Emirates (UAE) where he will co-chair the much-anticipated first meeting of the high-level Task Force on Investment on Monday.

Before leaving on Monday for the UAE, Sharma said "We deeply value our relationship with UAE and view this country as our economic gateway to the entire gulf region. Our economic engagement has shown a lot of promise and on the trade front. However, if we look at the spectrum of investments, the UAE investments into India stand at a level, which is far less than the potential of cooperation between our two countries. It is therefore important to take stock of the opportunities which present themselves for private and public enterprises on both sides to invest in each other's economies and develop long term investment partnerships." 

The proposal to establish a Joint Task Force on Investments was agreed upon during the call by UAE Foreign Minister H.H. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 27 June, 2011. The first meeting that will take place on Monday will include key investment decision makers from UAE and India. Indian side will include, apart from senior members of the government, major Infrastructure financing institutions and banks in India such as IIFCL, ONGC-Videsh Ltd. (OVL), IL&FS, SBI, HSBC, Bank of Baroda, Deutsch Bank.

A high-level FICCI delegation of business leaders will also participate in the meeting. India will require investments to the tune of US$ 1 trillion in infrastructure sector during the next five years with the private sector contribution estimated at 48%. A significant portion of these investments are expected to be in the form of equity, where FDI from countries such as the UAE would be welcome. Some of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds belong to the UAE. Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) is one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world with assets reported to be US $ 627 billion. 

Apart from the Task Force meeting, Sharma will meet his counterpart Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of Foreign Trade, UAE and will address Businessmen/investor at Dubai tomorrow. 

Bilateral trade between India and UAE during 2011-12 was $ 71.58 billion. In the calendar year 2012 the trade stood at USD 73.81 billion. 

Sharma is likely to emphasize the opportunities for increased investments from the UAE in India especially in infrastructure sector such as power and utilities, roads and highways, ports, aviation, telecommunications and urban infrastructure. He is also likely to convey that India is committed to strengthening and expanding cooperation with UAE in other sectors such as construction, downstream products in the petroleum and natural gas sector, agriculture and food processing, science & technology, renewable energy, IT, education, training, health and financial services.