UAE Crown Prince  Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan india visit republic day india trade uae oil investments relations narendra modi r-day guest muslims
UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan india visit republic day india trade uae oil investments relations narendra modi r-day guest muslimsReuters file

Abu Dhabi crown prince and deputy supreme commander of the UAE armed forces Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan will be the chief guest at India's Republic Day celebrations next year, indicating the importance the two countries attach to their relationship.

President Francois Hollande of France was the chief guest in January 2016.

India and the UAE had resolved to take their $59-billion bilateral trade by 60 percent in the next five years. 

The crown prince's first visit was in February this year, in reciprocation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in August 2015. India celebrates Republic Day on January 26 every year.

India-UAE trade ties have fluctuated over the past few years, from $66.57 billion in 2010-11 to reach a high of $75.45 billion in 2013-14 and declining to $59.61 billion in 2014-15.

The UAE was India's third largest trading partner in 2014-15, after the US and China, according to India's external affairs ministry update. Besides, it was the second largest export destination of India that year, with shipments valued at $33 billion. The oil-rich Gulf country was India's sixth largest import source of crude oil in 2014-15. 

Items exported from India include include petroleum products, precious metals, stones, gems and jewellery, minerals, food items (cereals, sugar, fruits & vegetables, tea, meat, and seafood), textiles (garments, apparel, synthetic fibre, cotton, yarn), engineering & machinery products and chemicals.

The country is also significant to India from a remittances point of view and enhancing people-to-people contacts. The UAE is home to about 2.6 million Indians, with professionals constituting about 20 percent.

During the crown prince's February visit, the two countries decided to scale their bilateral trade by diversifying to new items. 

"Taking note of their excellent economic engagement, with the two countries being among the top trading partners for each other, the two leaders agreed upon the need to further strengthen these ties, particularly through diversifying non-oil trade. They also expressed satisfaction at the growing presence of Indian and UAE companies in each other's market and agreed to further encourage trade promotion measures and participation in fairs and exhibitions," the Indian government said on February 12, 2016.

"Reaffirming their resolve to work together to substantially increase trade by 60 percent over the next five years as agreed during Prime Minister Modi's visit to the UAE in August 2015, the two sides examined various tariff and non-tariff barriers, and agreed to enhance the trade of priority commodities and expand the access of goods and services in both markets," it added.