Sharjah – MENA Herald: This year’s Sharjah Foreign Direct Investment Forum (Sharjah FDI Forum 2016), which takes place September 28-29, at the Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort & Spa, will host a panel discussion to explore the strategic relationship between the UAE and India.

Titled ‘Growing Trade Links between India and the UAE,’ the activity will form a central plank of the forum, which is organised by Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) in collaboration with the UK’s Financial Times.

Participating in the discussion will be Paras Shahdadpuri, Chairman of Nikai Group of companies; C.S. Raghavan, Chief Representative, Bahrain, Confederation of Indian Industry, Sudesh K Aggarwal, Chairman of the Indian Business and Professional Council in Sharjah, and Florence Eid-Oakden, Chief Economist at the Arabia Monitor. The industry leading discussion panel, moderated by Jacopo Dettoni, Deputy Editor at the fDi Magazine, Financial Times, will have panelists examining the outlook for growth and the ways to further bilateral relations in the light of the productive economic ties that the UAE and India enjoy.

During their discussions, the panelists will review India’s FDI policy and the reasons for the growth of Indian investment in the Middle East, particularly in the UAE. The speakers will highlight the key sectors for investment, the goals of Indian entrepreneurs in the Middle East and the outlook for the future.

“The UAE has deep-rooted historical ties with India, with the nations’ relationship dating back to 3000 BC and the pearl and fishing industries. India is the UAE’s second largest trade partner, while the UAE is India’s third largest trade partner after China and the U.S. The annual trade between the UAE and India touches $60 billion (AED220 billion) at present,” said HE Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of Shurooq.

Referring to the numerous Indian companies whose success stories started in Sharjah before they subsequently expanded across the region and globally, Al Sarkal added; “Through this forum we seek to further these strategic relations and bolster ties binding both countries, with a special focus on the emirate of Sharjah, which has very strong historical trade links with India.”

“The diversity in investment and business opportunities available in both countries is supported by mutual expertise, modern technology, capital and skilled human resources. All these important elements have helped achieve the setting up of successful joint ventures and economic growth. They have contributed to creating strong and effective partnerships in various sectors, specifically in Sharjah, which is characterised by a diverse economic system, with no single sector contributing more than 20% of GDP,” Al Sarkal concluded.

‘Growing Trade Links between India and the UAE’ will explore the reasons behind the volume of Emirati investments in India, which reached $1.82 billion for the decade 2000-2010, with the UAE’s accumulated investments in India exceeding $6 Billion, spanning the energy, service, metal industries, property and construction sectors. The number of Indian concerns registered at the UAE Ministry of Economy at the close of 2014 stood at 4,365 companies, 177 trade agencies and 5,579 trademarks.

The Sharjah FDI Forum 2016 is being held under the generous patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. It aims to offer an unrivalled opportunity to examine the outlook for investment in the UAE and Sharjah specifically and highlight opportunities available in the emirate’s various economic sectors. The forum will bring together an elite group of policy makers, officials and economists.