UAE, India to boost regional security, says Indian ambassador

Top Indian diplomat in UAE hails bilateral ties during tour of visiting Indian coast guard ship

The UAE-India ties are set to deepen “beyond bilateral relationship” through expected collaborations in regional security, India’s ambassador to the UAE said during a goodwill visit by an Indian coast guard ship at Dubai’s Port Rashid on Sunday.

Navdeep Singh Suri, speaking during a tour of the Samudra Pavak, said he expects “a positive impact on regional security” through a greater cooperation in defence and maritime security.

An increase in such collaborations “is only one part of the outcome of the visit [of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi]”, he said.

Shaikh Mohammad visited India as the chief guest of India’s 68th Republic Day celebrations on January 26 and both countries signed 14 wide-ranging agreements, including those on defence and maritime security.

Suri said Samudra Pavak’s visit to UAE and more goodwill visits like this will see increase in joint exercises and training programmes between the two countries and many more things.

When asked about the “agenda” of such visits, Suri said: “We are living in a fairly volatile region and the world is a fairly uncertain place. You’ve got the problems of religious extremism; you’ve got the problems of terrorism; of piracy and a lot of other things. It’s a good time for countries like India and UAE, which have shared philosophies and shared objectives, to be working much closely with each other.”

He said “particularly after the level of trust and confidence that has been built — first during the visit of [Indian] Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi in August 2015, then the visit of Shaikh Mohammad in February last year [2016], and now of course the most recent visit — there’s a feeling that the two of us, working together, can be talking beyond just our bilateral relationship. We can be talking about a positive impact on regional security”.

He added: “I’m aware that in the talks that took place in Delhi last month, India and UAE feel very strongly, very passionately that we live in a very volatile, very troubled time, in a fairly unsettled part of the world. In that unsettled part of the world, India and UAE are two beacons of stability.

According to a press release issued by the Samudra Pavak, the visit marks “an important step towards strengthening of bilateral cooperation … while evolving working and professional relationship in the field of … anti-piracy, armed robbery and maritime law enforcements”, among other areas.

The 94-metre Samudra Pavak, which means “Purifier of the Sea” in Hindi, is one of only three pollution control vessels of the Indian Coast Guard. It is also armed and capable of maritime security operations. The ship is manned by 15 officers and 99 men, under the command of deputy inspector general Satish Kumar.

Kumar said: “The Indian Coast Guard looks forward to engage with UAE defence forces to make our seas safer, cleaner and more secure. We share common challenges and we will definitely benefit through mutual exchanges and cooperation.”

Senior officials from the UAE Coast Guard also attended the event. After taking part in joint programmes with UAE authorities, Samudra Pavak is “likely to depart” on Tuesday.