International Relations

UAE de-hyphenated India-Pakistan Relations

Why? – Recently when UAE assisted Pakistan with a $3 billion, India became skeptic. However, UAE ambassador asserted that UAE’s relations with India are not dependent on any third party.

The UAE ambassador asserted, when asked about the impact of its assistance of $3 billion to Pakistan that it had clearly de-hyphenated India-Pakistan relations and none are dependent on each other.

The relationships are evaluated according to the dealings and has nothing to do with the third parties. Also, a long pending issue of upgradation of the bilateral air service agreement was discussed which was delayed due to lobbying by some Indian air carriers.

Why UAE is Important to India?

  • The August 2015 visit of Prime Minister Modi helped in garnering investment and signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) in sectors such as
    1. Renewable Energy
    2. Cyber Crimes combating
    3. Cultural Exchange
    4. Space Research
    5. Skill Development
    6. Currency Swaps
  • India-UAE trade is around $52 Billion (2016-17) which makes it India’s third largest partner after US and China.
  • Both share historical ties and have maintained regular cultural exchanges.
  • UAE is home to 2.8 million Indians. Hence, India receives annual remittances of about $13.5 Billion.

The UAE is coming closer to New Delhi because of closeness of Pakistan and Qatar ties and the development of Gwadar port which would reduce the dependence on UAE’s ports for supply into European markets.

UAE-Pakistan Ties

  • Both countries enjoy extremely close fraternal relations, founded on deep-rooted cultural affinities, shared faith and traditions as well as geographical proximity since 1971. (Foundation of the UAE)
  • Bilateral trade value at $9 Billion.
  • UAE is home to 1.2 million (approx.) Pakistani expatriates.
  • UAE has a long cricket relationship with Pakistan, serving as a home ground for Pakistan cricket team for the past few decades.
  • Heavy financial assistance to Pakistan in health, education, water and infrastructure by the UAE.


UAE can benefit more with India than with Pakistan in terms of trade, cultural and religious ties, diaspora and strategic partnership.

India has very good diplomatic relations with Gulf countries especially UAE, Oman and Bahrain. Hence, it can benefit from diversification of its oil import i.e., apart from Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Along with Chabahar, ties with UAE would greatly facilitate trade with European markets, through Strait of Hormuz.

The step by UAE resembles India’s de-hyphenation of Israel-Palestine relations.

UAE being annoyed by Pakistan on development of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), it seeks a partner in India.

UAE being one of the richest countries, investment (FDI or portfolio) should be directed towards India rather than Pakistan. Indians are the main working class (~ 20%) of UAE’s population. Hence, a strong and suited policy for ease of working norms, minimum wages and security should be ensured by Indian Diplomacy.

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