Dubai – MENA Herald: Mr. Nitin Gadkari, India’s Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping and H.E. Dr. Abdullah Bin Mohammed Belhaif Al Nuaimi, UAE Cabinet Member and Minister of Infrastructure Development today jointly inaugurated the 2nd UAE-INDIA Economic Forum being held at Jumeirah Mina A’Salam Hotel in Dubai from October 19-20, 2016. A number of high profile dignitaries, government officials and business leaders from both countries convened at the forum, hosted by the Consulate General of India in Dubai and supported by the UAE Ministry of Economy, in strategic partnership with UAE International Investors Council, Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Invest India, Abu Dhabi Global Market and Dubai Economic Council.

H.E. Abdullah bin Mohammed Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Cabinet Ministry and Minister of Infrastructure Development in the UAE said, “I am honored to be present here today and thank the organizers for giving me this opportunity to address this esteemed congregation. India is a key global trade and commerce partner for the UAE with ties between the two countries going back a long way and continuing to grow significantly. Indian expatriates have successfully helped build the UAE which currently hosts the largest Indian community overseas with over 2.6 million living and working. There are a number of factors that make UAE an attractive investment destination due to its strategic geographical location and regulatory system that protects investors and facilitates trade, among others.

Mr. Nitin Gadkari, India’s Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping said, “It is a pleasure and matter of pride for me to be here in one of the most intelligent and commercial cities in the world. Being responsible for infrastructure in India, UAE is definitely one of the success stories we always consider. Our government led by the directives of our Prime Minister is bringing about administrative and economic reforms. We are building a system that is transparent, time-bound, result oriented and corruption free without which we cannot achieve our goals. We currently have infrastructure projects worth billions of dollars being planned and implemented. We are ready to cooperate and welcome everyone to explore and invest in India, the fastest growing economy in the world.”

H.E. Hani Al Hamli, Secretary General, Dubai Economic Council said, “The UAE and India have historical relations in various areas – economic, political and cultural among other. India is one of the main trading partners for Dubai and the UAE with non-oil and overall trade reaching USD 28 billion and USD 60 billion respectively in 2015. India is also the largest export destination for Dubai with Indians accounting for the largest number of property buyers and tourists in the emirate. The Council is working very hard with its counterparts in India and has forged strategic partnerships with a number of Indian institutions from both public and private sectors. We need to further enhance relationships from merely trade and cooperation to strategic partnerships and alliances, harnessing the potential of both countries – resources, labor, investors, knowledge and expertise for a better future.”

Calling on the Indian government to iron out any regulatory, legal or bureaucracy related issues that affect investor transparency, H.E. Jamal Al Jarwan, Secretary General, UAE International Investors Council (UAEIIC) said, “UAE is very active when it comes to exporting capital – ranked #2 after Norway when it comes to SWF investments – and India should capitalize on this. There is no doubt that there are excellent trade relations between the UAE and India. India is among the top 3 destinations for UAE investors and this relationship can be leveraged to pave the way for future cooperation and collaboration as economic growth is key for the prosperity of any nation.

Expressing excitement about the system changes and potential in India with nearly 70 billion dollars of investment being invited, Dr. Azad Moopen, Chairman, Aster DM Healthcare said, “The focus of the Indian government on infrastructure development which requires significant funding, is a huge opportunity for UAE investors. On the other hand, key factors such as peace of mind, freedom and safety, social infrastructure, logistics and connectivity, and vision of the leadership to make UAE one of the top 3 countries in the world in terms of ease of doing business, make UAE an attractive investment destination.”

While drawing reference to and agreeing with the issues raised by H.E. Jamal Al Jarwan about doing business in India, Dr. Moopen called on the UAE government to consider offering permanent residency to long-term investors and increasing foreign ownership of businesses to possibly 100%.

Ravi Raman, Member of the organizing committee of the Forum said, “Apart from the encouraging turnaround of delegates the Indian minister also had several meetings on the sidelines which make the forum even more fruitful and productive.”

The first day of the forum featured multiple sessions covering various industry topics including investments, infrastructure, transportation and real estate. A number of ministers, policy makers and business leaders from India and the UAE shared their views and thoughts during the forum. The first edition of the Qadat Al Tagheer Awards was also held during an evening gala event.

The 2nd UAE-INDIA Economic Forum is sponsored by Tamleek Real Estate Co., Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), Abu Dhabi Terminals, BSE, Dana Group, Bombardier, IBPC, Emirates for Industrial Cities, ADCB and Prime Hospital Dubai.