Indian PM Modi signs trans-continental trade pact with UAE

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President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (right) walks with Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi during a reception at the Presidential Airport, in Abu Dhabi, UAE, February 13, 2024. — Reuters
President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (right) walks with Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi during a reception at the Presidential Airport, in Abu Dhabi, UAE, February 13, 2024. — Reuters

  • Economic corridor to connect India with Europe, via Middle East.
  • Trade pact was announced last September at G20 summit.
  • Accord will foster India, UAE cooperation, foreign ministry says.


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his trip to the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday signed a trade corridor agreement, aiming to connect Europe with India through parts of the Middle East by sea and rail, DW reported.

The ambitious plan, supported by the United States and the European Union, was announced in a statement by the Indian foreign ministry, although few details on what the sides had agreed on were made public.

"This would build on previous understandings and cooperation on this matter and foster India and the UAE cooperation furthering regional connectivity," the ministry statement said.

The corridor, announced last September at the G20 summit, aims to connect India, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel to Europe.

However, the ministry only mentioned India and the UAE, a regional Gulf Arab power with over a century of trade ties.

The India-Middle East Economic Corridor agreement is in jeopardy due to the ongoing genocide in Gaza, which has slowed US-backed Israeli integration with Arab countries, and Saudi Arabia's halt in normalisation plans.

The UAE foreign ministry did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment on details of the agreement.

Modi met with UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan, who the Indian leader often refers to as his “brother”.

"Today, our region is going through a difficult time but because of our relationship with you, we are building a lot of hope and looking forward to a future with India that is on par with our ambitions," Sheikh Mohamed said at a meeting with Modi on Tuesday, according to a video shared on Modi's YouTube channel.