Context: UAE’s ambition to strengthen food security will be driven by India-UAE food security partnership.
Decoding the News: India and Global Food Security
- Food production: India is the second largest food producer in the world and a global agri-export powerhouse. Apart from selling its produce on international market, India has been providing food to developing countries on humanitarian grounds.
- Subsidy programme: India runs the world’s largest food subsidy programme in form of Public Distribution System, which provides nearly 800 million citizens with subsidized grains.
- Nutrition programme: India has also initiated the world’s largest nutrition programme for children and women in form of Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition (POSHAN) Abhiyaan.
- Promoting millets: As part of its G 20 Presidency, India has been promoting the consumption and farming of millets, which are considered to be nutritious, drought-resistant and sustainable crops.
- How can India and UAE collaborate on Food Security?
- Investments in agriculture sector: UAE has committed $2 billion in investment towards constructing food parks in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. It has signed an arrangement for a food security corridor under the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
- India’s food export gateway: UAE, due to its location between Asia and Europe, can serve as India’s food export gateway to West Asia and the Africa region.
- This will help India’s agri-products to reach wider market across the globe.
- Infrastructure creation: Companies from UAE have pledged $7 billion as investments for creation of mega food parks and other agriculture-related infrastructures. It will include mega parks, logistics and warehouse hubs, and fruits and vegetable hubs.
- Potential Benefits of the Partnership:
- Creation of non-farm agri-jobs
- Better prices for farm produce
- Creation of global demand for Indian agri-products
Trade and Economy
- India-UAE trade is valued at $ 73 billion, making UAE India’s third largest trading partner for the year 2021-22 after US and China.
- UA E is India’s second largest export destination (after US) with an amount of over US$ 28 billion for the year 2021-22.
- India is the second largest trading partner for UAE (year 2021) with an amount of around US$ 45 billion (non-oil trade).
- India and UAE has signed the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in 2022, which will help in increasing bilateral trade in goods to $100 bn within five years and trade in services to $15 bn.
- India’s exports: Precious Metals and Stones, Gems & Jewellery, Minerals & Refined Petroleum Products, Textiles, Cereals, Sugar, Fruits & Vegetables, Tea, Meat, and Seafood, Engineering & Machinery Products and Chemicals.
- India’s import: Petroleum and Petroleum Products, Gems & Jewellery, Precious Metals, Stones, Minerals, Chemicals, Wood & Wood Products.
- UAE is the 7th biggest investor in India in terms of FDI. It has invested around US $ 20-21 billion of which $ 15.18 billion is in the form of FDI while the remaining is FPI.
- Indian investments in UAE would be more than $85 billion.
Defence and Security
- Defence exercise: UAE Air Force has participated in Trilateral Air Exercise on Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Relief (HADR).
- UAE has also participated as a third partner in Exercise Varuna, which initially involved India and France.
- Air forces of India and UAE participated in the air combat exercise Desert Eagle II.
- Deportation of fugitives: UAE has deported fugitives who had fled Indian law enforcement and settled in the country.
- It has cooperated with India on various de-radicalization initiatives of Indian diaspora community.
- Conventional energy: UAE is India’s fourth biggest supplier of crude oil, with Indian importing 8.8% of its total crude oil from the Gulf Country.
- Renewable energy: The UAE-India cooperation in climate aims to support India’s ambition to achieve 450 GW of renewable energy installed capacity by 2030.
- More than 3.3 million Indian diaspora community lives in the UAE. This has helped in spread of Indian arts and culinary culture.
- UAE and India signed an agreement in 1975 to deepen their cultural ties. Both countries will cooperate in art, culture, and education.
- I2U2: India and UAE have been part of I2U2 grouping, with Israel and USA being other participants.
- The grouping aims to focus on six areas of cooperation, namely: Water, Energy, Transportation, Space, Health and Food security.
Science and Technology
- Space: ISRO launched UAE’s nano-satellite, Nayif-1 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.
Challenges for India-UAE Relations
- Slow implementation: The investments made by UAE are not implemented within the given span, discouraging future investments. This is further aggravated by India’s red-tape culture.
- Declining Indian workers: Indian workers in the UAE are being replaced by cheaper labourers from other Asian countries such as Philippines, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
- Iran factor: Iran and GCC countries share an acrimonious relationship due to their ambitions of dominating the Muslim-world. Normalization of relations would help India increase its footprint in the Gulf region.