New Delhi, December 5: A major currency swap pact was inked between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), valuing nearly Rs 3,500 crore. The deal, signalling the Modi government's growing bonhomie with the Middle East, will allow the two nation to surpass the "the dependency on hard currencies", including the US dollar.
The swap deal gives impetus to local currencies, with the central bank in India clearing the transactions in rupees, whereas, the same would be cleared in dirham in UAE. While such pacts were already in place, the magnitude of the agreement -valuing nearly $500 million - reflects the deepening of trade ties between New Delhi and Riyadh. Sushma Swaraj Slams Pakistan For Supporting Cross-Border Terrorism; Says 'Our Neighbouring Country Glorifying Killers'.
The deal was inked on Tuesday, at the 12th India-UAE joint commission meeting held in Abu Dhabi. The meeting was co-chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan.
Apart from finalising currency exchange agreement, Swaraj also held exhaustive discussions with her counterpart to step up bilateral cooperation in areas like security, defence, counter-terrorism, trade and energy.
"India's relations with the Arab world as well as other Muslim-majority nations has improved under the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government," she said.
Today, India is also having good relations with those countries who are traditional rivals, like the US and Russia, Israel and Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Iran, she said, adding this is possible due to the government's foreign policy, which is based on "nation's interest first".
Swaraj said that in the last four years the government has rescued around 2.33 lakh Indians, from around the world, stuck at various places including the Gulf countries or war-torn Yemen.
"It was due to our relations with Muslim-majority nations, like Saudi Arabia and Yemen that we were able to evacuate around 5,000 Indians and around 2,000 nationals of other countries, including three Pakistanis," she said.
She also appreciated their contribution in enhancing relations with the UAE, which hosts a 33 lakh-strong Indian community - the largest number of Indians outside India.
About the India-UAE relations, the External Affairs Minister said the relations between the two countries from buyer and seller (of oil for energy) is changing.
"And with the signing of today's agreement, the cooperation between the two countries will achieve a new height. This is only a beginning," she said.
(With agency inputs)