India and the United Arab Emirates have had common trade relations over the centuries. The trade, dominated by traditional objects such as dates, pearls and fish, was discovered after the discovery of oil in the United Arab Emirates (oil exports began in 1962 by Abu Dhabi). With the birth of the United Arab Emirates in 1971, Indian exports began to grow gradually over the years. But the impetus began after Dubai positioned itself as a regional shopping centre in the early 1990s and the process of economic liberalization in India began at about the same time. The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), India`s largest sovereign wealth fund, signed a $1 billion investment agreement on 16.10.17 with a wholly-needed subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (Adia) to invest in India`s much-needed energy, transport and other infrastructure sectors. ADIA invests $1 billion in affordable, income-based housing projects in major Indian cities. ADIA is one of the most active foreign investors in India and has deployed its funds in real estate, private equity and supported two of the largest renewable energy companies in India by investing more than $400 million in ReNew Power and Greenko. The United Arab Emirates is a party to several multilateral and bilateral trade agreements, including with GCC partner countries. Under the GCC, the United Arab Emirates enjoys close economic relations with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman, which means that the United Arab Emirates shares a common market and customs union with these nations. Under the Agreement on the Large Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA), the United Arab Emirates has free access to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Morocco, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Libya and Yemen.
Both sides are working to further strengthen these ties for mutual benefit. Trade between India and the United Arab Emirates, valued at $180 million a year in the 1970s, now stands at $59 billion and makes the United Arab Emirates India`s third-largest trading partner for 2019-20, after China and the United States. In addition, the United Arab Emirates is India`s second largest export destination (after the United States), with nearly $29 billion in 2019-20. For the United Arab Emirates, India is the second largest trading partner for 2019, with an amount of about $41.43 billion (excluding oil). According to the Indian authorities, trade between India and the United Arab Emirates exceeded $49 billion in the 2015-16 financial year, with Indian exports of $30 billion to the United Arab Emirates and exports from the United Arab Emirates amounting to $19 billion being one of India`s main trading partners in the United Arab Emirates. Indian businessmen and traders have made a significant contribution to the economic fabric of the United Arab Emirates. Indian professionals also hold important positions in various banks, private companies and business institutions in the country. India`s unskilled and semi-skilled workforce is a dominant force in the construction industry. The contribution of Indians to the growth of the United Arab Emirates is recognized by the leaders and people of the United Arab Emirates. During the visit of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi to India in January 2017, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Corporation (Adnoc) agreed to create a strategic crude oil reserve in the city of Mangalore (Karnataka) and sign a contract with Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves (ISPRL). The Indian state ISPRL will have the capacity to store 5.86 million barrels of Abu Dhabi crude oil in the Karnataka underground depot.
The facility will be the third of its kind established by Adnoc in Asia, with similar agreements leading to storage operations in Japan and South Korea. The first crude oil shipment for ADNOC ISPRL took place in May 2018. The first delivery arrived in India on 21 May 2018, the second reached India on 9 October and the third on 7 November 2018