Arun Jaitley, India’s Finance Minister, today opened the inaugural edition of the UAE-India Economic Forum, which is taking place in Dubai over two days at the Burj Al Arab hotel.
In his keynote address, Mr. Jaitley said, "Over the last four decades, the great relationship between the UAE and India has evolved greatly in various directions of human life and civilisation supported by the two nations’ strength of human resource, culture, geography and economy."
Outlining three key challenges facing India’s economic growth, Mr. Jaitley stated that world economy is under great stress with almost every forecast indicating a negative trend in terms of growth statistics. "The global slowdown impacts the world market, which in turn poses challenges for large economies like India. Second, 55 percent of our population is still dependent on agriculture and with the unpredictability of monsoons, their purchasing power has been reduced significantly.Third, while public and foreign investment in India has grown by 30 percent and 40 percent respectively, the rate of growth in terms of private investments is still sluggish."
To address these challenges, Mr. Jaitley highlighted the structural changes brought about by the Indian government on the back of country’s consistent drive for growth, credibility of India’s decision-making processes, bigger aspirations, greater stability and support in the direction of policy, quick approvals, and a positive shift in terms of ease of doing business in India.
Mohammed Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Alshehhi, Under-Secretary at the UAE Ministry of Economy, said: "India and the UAE share a very special bond of friendship and partnership and we welcome the improvement in legislation and laws in India to promote business in the country. There are many success stories of UAE investment in India. The Indian community in the UAE is quite active and we welcome their contributions in the growth of the UAE economy. We look forward to more investments and increased trade opportunities between the two countries."
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Jyotsna Suri, President, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, FICCI, said: "Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UAE brought a transformation in the India-UAE relationship. We are looking at each other with renewed understanding and focus and are committed to leveraging the opportunities for mutual prosperity."
Sharief Habib Al Awadhi, CEO and Director General, Fujairah Free Zone Authority, said, "At Fujairah Free Zone Authority, 40 percent of our businesses are from India and forums like these serve as great platforms for the UAE and India’s business communities to boost collaboration on a number of economic fronts. We are already India’s number one partner in business and India stands as our second largest trade partner. India and the UAE enjoy a strong sense of comfort with each other, which facilitates stronger business associations between our economic sectors. The Indian business community in the UAE is quite robust and is constantly raising the bar with innovative business concepts and solutions."