News Analysis |
During a visit to the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), the United Arab Emirates Ambassador Hamad Obaid Alzaabi has said that UAE wanted to further enhance trade relations with Pakistan as both countries have great scope to promote trade in many areas.
He called for a development of a 10-year roadmap to utilize potential areas of mutual cooperation. He met with members of the business community at ICCI during his visit to the chamber. He called for an active participation by the Pakistani business community in the upcoming Annual Investment Meetings and Expo 2020 in UAE to explore possibilities for enhancing their business prospects.
UAE has warmly welcomed Modi exchanging famous bear hugs with him, announced billions in trade deals with them last year and even sent soldiers during the Indian Republic Day celebration in January.
In his welcome address, ICCI President Sheikh Amir Waheed said that Pakistan and UAE enjoyed cordial relations but a bilateral trade of over $8 billion was not reflective of the actual potential of both countries. He stressed that both countries should focus on promoting strong connectivity between private sectors and enable the frequent exchange of trade delegations that would help in further enhancing current volumes of bilateral trade.
The frequent exchanges of high-level visits and regular bilateral consultations between the two countries highlight the strong foundation between the two countries. The UAE has emerged as one of Pakistan’s major economic and trading partners. Most of the relationship revolves around the Pakistani expatriates living in the UAE.
A large number of Pakistani expatriates, numbering nearly 1.2 million are gainfully employed in UAE. The Pakistani expatriates in UAE have contributed in a significant manner to the promotion of bilateral understanding and to the economy of Pakistan through their home remittances. The earliest migrant workers in Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the 1950s and 60s were from Pakistan, and the UAE’s flagship airline, Emirates, was trained by the state airline, Pakistan International Airlines. In fact, the first flight Emirates took was from Dubai to Karachi in 1985.
He called for a development of a 10-year roadmap to utilize potential areas of mutual cooperation.
The UAE is to host the first international level “Expo 2020” in which 100 countries will participate. Such an opportunity would be a boon for the private sector of Pakistan as it can provide an avenue to explore various business opportunities. A noteworthy point is that several Pakistani companies are engaged successfully in the free economic zones of UAE which can still provide for more new entrants. Further engagements can be inferred from the continuous exchange of high-level trade delegations.
Military to Military Relations between the two countries
The extensive UAE-Pakistan ties are not limited to the economic sphere but also in other spheres such as security. During the 1970s, Pakistan resolved a military protocol with the U.A.E. and other Gulf countries, which enabled Pakistani officers to train and serve in the armed forces and police of these countries. The Pakistani military has had a historic role in helping to train and equip the UAE military, such as training fighter pilots of the UAE air force. The former ISI chief General Pasha became a security advisor to the UAE government upon his retirement from the Pakistani secret service.
However, the two countries have had a tense relationship in recent times. The UAE was very vocal in its criticism of Pakistan when it announced that it would not join the GCC war in Yemen. In addition, the development of Gwadar is viewed by the Emiratis with concern, since it is expected to affect Dubai, UAE’s prime port. UAE has warmly welcomed Modi exchanging famous bear hugs with him, announced billions in trade deals with them last year and even sent soldiers during the Indian Republic Day celebration in January.
However, perhaps the recent 2020 Expo and a more robust economic relationship between these two Muslim countries can be a panacea for the ills afflicting the Pak-UAE ties.