Many non-Modi and non-BJP supporters and followers talk about UAE’s highest civilian award – Zayed Medal being awarded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an election gimmick because it has come his way just before the general election in India. But, a reality check tells us a different story.
India never showed interest to build a strong relationship with the Gulf countries in the past. But, India has been in the good books of Gulf countries ever since the Modi government came into power and because of the concerted efforts made by the government to boost relationships with the Emirates union and India. Considering the outreach programs undertaken by the Government of India to surmount associations, PM Modi conferred upon the highest civilian award by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Ever since Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, he’s on his toes travelling around the world and visited 10 Western Asian Countries from 2014. In spite of higher trade and higher remittance from Gulf countries to back home in India, investments remained imperceptible for many years. But, experts report says, the scenario has changed under Modi. India-UAE relations went to the next level when India got a helping hand to counter terrorism. Experts say, India has situated itself as an ideal partner for stabilising Gulf countries, the reason being the closeness that Modi has created with Iran.
Let’s look at the significant breakthroughs behind PM Modi’s award
1. The foreign currency swap agreement
In a vision to boost trade and economic relations with India and UAE, both the countries have signed a currency swap agreement in December 2018. The deal made to give priority to local currencies of two countries and to reduce the dependency on third nation currency like the US dollar which saves the exchange rates for both the countries.
2. Strategic petroleum understanding
India and UAE’s oil companies have signed an agreement to maintain strategic petroleum reserves with 50 per cent stakes from Abu Dhabi National Oil Co and its partner Saudi Aramco and Indian state-owned oil companies Indian Oil Corp, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum respectively. India has allowed foreign oil companies to store oil in the storages created in Karnataka and Maharashtra with a condition of using it in case of an emergency.
3. Co-operation to counter terrorism
UAE showed interest in the counter-terrorism partnership with India when the discontent started with its traditional ally Pakistan. Now, Abu Dhabi has begun to voluntarily share information on terror activists and their networks from the past few years.
4. Investment in agriculture
After revoking the export policy restrictions for organic and horticultural products, UAE and Saudi Arabia has shown interest to invest in Indian agriculture. Both countries have plans to make India the food security base and invest in food processing industries and organic food industries.
5. Infrastructure investment
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between India and UAE in 2016 to explore opportunities in the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) for mobilisation especially in railways, airports, IT parks, corridors, ports and roads with an equity proportion.
The above milestones have happened after Narendra Modi took oath as Prime Minister in 2014 and there are many instances being reasons for conferring upon the highest civilian award to Modi.