West Asian minilateral geometry and India: Will I2-U2 usher the elusive peace?
Jagannath P. Panda
In April, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Thani Al Zeyoudi, announced that the recently concluded free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the UAE – the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) – would come into force on May 1. That the deal was completed in less than three months is a testimony to the newly sensitized Indian bureaucratic mindset about diverse diplomatic outreach (from East Asia to Latin America), including non-traditional partners. It also demonstrates India’s changing international economic post-pandemic outlook, as New Delhi emphasizes concluding FTAs as a pathway for greater economic growth and development. Ripple effects from the deal are already showing: India’s Reliance Industries Limited and the Abu Dhabi Chemicals Derivatives Company RSC Limited (TA’ZIZ) have forged a USD 2 billion partnership deal that will produce chemicals within the UAE and bring a host of new opportunities for further industrial and energy cooperation – as well as people-to-people interactions – between the two countries.
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