Resumption of flight services expected as soon as situation in India improves.
Ties between the UAE and India have strengthened during the pandemic and it is reflected in the continued support both countries are providing each other, said Pavan Kapoor, Indian Ambassador to the UAE, during the Global Investment Forum hosted by Khaleej Times on Wednesday.
“There has been a continuous flow of goods between the two countries, despite the restrictions imposed by lockdown. The UAE and India also formed a corridor for food security during the pandemic.”
On the disruption of the air bubble between the UAE and India, the ambassador said that the Indian embassy is in talks with the authorities and expects the resumption of flight services as soon as the situation in India improves. “We are working closely with the UAE authorities to get Indian expatriates with UAE resident visas to return to the emirates. We have spoken with the authorities and the foreign office is fairly supportive of us, but this is a decision taken by the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management (NCEMA). We are hopeful that the situation will improve soon for the authorities to allow resumption of the air bubble like before.”
In terms of investment flow, the UAE has been among the top ten investors in India. “During the pandemic, for the financial year that ended on March 2021, India received a record $81.7 billion foreign direct investment in retail. This is 8 per cent more than the previous year, which says about the fundamental story of India. And I am proud to say that from the UAE, India received $3.5 billion investment through ADIA (Abu Dhabi Investment Authority) and Mubadala Investment Company,” said Kapoor.
A slew of recent reforms in India on the tax front and introduction of the insolvency and bankruptcy code have been welcomed by international investors and businesses, the ambassador said. “India has been inviting businesses from across the world. The corporate tax rate has is 22 per cent, in fact for new manufacturing units it is 15 per cent. We also exempted sovereign wealth funds, offering tax-free investments in infrastructure.”
Post-pandemic, some of the sectors that could see a rise in interest from foreign investors include infrastructure, healthcare, education, green tech, and renewable energy. “We have a slew of investment projects across the board with $1.5 trillion being invested in infrastructure sector by 2025. Healthcare is another sector expected to attract investments. In the education sector, we have launched a new education policy in India which allows foreign universities to open campuses in the country. There is a lot of scope in digital economy, green tech and renewable energy, too. India is part of International Solar Alliance. We are very keen to increase the share of renewable energy capacity in our energy mix and we have very ambitious targets of 450GW by 2030.”
UAE-India ties emerged stronger from pandemic: Envoy
Despite the blow India has suffered during the pandemic, its economic fundamentals remain strong, affirmed the ambassador. “The economy has taken a hit last year, but I think going forward, Indian economy will pick-up and clock double-digit growth rate, as estimated by various global agencies such as Moody’s, Goldman Sachs, Barclays, and others.”
Several corporates and Indian states are looking forward to the Expo2020 and would be spending weeks in the UAE during the event. “It is the greatest show on earth and we are looking forward to it.”