West Asian minilateral geometry and India: Will I2-U2 usher the elusive peace?

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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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