The United Arab Emirates have generously embraced a large number of Indian expatriates and encouraged them to flourish and prosper, for which we sincerely "thank you", President Pranab Mukherjee has said.
About 2.6 million Indians have made the UAE as their second home.
"The United Arab Emirates have generously embraced a large number of Indian expatriates and have encouraged them to flourish and prosper, for which we sincerely thank you.
"The positive contribution of this community to the development and progress of their host country has been well acknowledged and appreciated. We are confident of your continued support in ensuring their safety and well-being," he said.
Mukherjee said there is an urgent need for collective efforts against the forces of extremism, terrorism and intolerance which attempt to weaken the very fabric of societies.
Welcoming Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces at Rashtrapati Bhavan here on Wednesday, he said it was in the shared interest of both the countries to work for peace and stability in West as well as South Asia.
"I take this opportunity to reiterate the urgent need for responsible nations such as ours to continue our collective efforts against the forces of extremism, terrorism and intolerance which attempt to weaken the very fabric of our societies," the President said.
Mukherjee said the well-balanced bilateral trade turnover between India and UAE has been impressive.
"India deeply values the United Arab Emirates as a trusted and reliable partner in India's energy security. We welcome your participation in establishing our Strategic Petroleum Reserves.
"We seek a deeper energy partnership with you in the form of joint ventures in refineries and petrochemicals projects in India, participation of our companies in upstream projects in your country and joint exploration in third countries," he said.
The bilateral trade during 2015-16 between the two nations was USD 49.729 billion. UAE is amongst India's largest trade partners.
To realise the potential for further growth, we have agreed to increase the bilateral trade by 60 per cent in 2020, the President said.
Subsequently, in his banquet speech, Mukherjee said with India's plans for rapid growth in the infrastructure sector, government's liberalisation of foreign direct investment and as one of the fast growing economies in the world, India holds immense possibilities for investments.
The President said India has invited business houses of the United Arab Emirates to participate in our flagship projects like 'Make in India', 'Digital India' and 'Smart Cities' programmes.
He said India's companies are globally reputed and have rich experience in executing infrastructure projects of the highest standards.
"They are keen to partner in the preparations for the World EXPO 2020 in Dubai. It is a matter of satisfaction that even as the two countries strengthen our ongoing engagement and co-operation, our governments are currently exploring new avenues to expand it. Joint defence production, space and renewable energy have been identified as priorities," Mukherjee said.
Rains spoilsport for Prez 'At Home' programme
Rains played spoilsport for President Pranab Mukherjee's last 'At Home' programme of his tenure as heavy downpour forced change of the venue from majestic Mughal Gardens in the open to the confines of Durbar and Ashoka halls. With around 3,000 guests descending for the 'At Home' function hosted by the President on the 68th Republic Day, Rashtrapati Bhawan had thrown open its Banquet hall and 'Upper Loggia' to accommodate everyone.
The President along with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were seated in the Ashoka hall while the remaining guests were accommodated in other three places.
Among VVIP's present at the occasion were Vice President Hamid Ansari, Chief Justice of India J S Khehar, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shanker Prasad.