|15 November, 2018

India-UAE ties set to grow stronger, says Indian oil minister

With digital age in focus, they discussed ways to develop skills of Indians working in the UAE.

India's Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan speaks during an interview with Reuters in New Delhi, India, June 12, 2015.

India's Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan speaks during an interview with Reuters in New Delhi, India, June 12, 2015.

REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

The level of bilateral engagements between the UAE and India are reaching new heights as the leaders of both the countries share a common vision of growth and prosperity, an Indian minister told Khaleej Times in Abu Dhabi.

Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan said the relationship will continue to prosper as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is set to retain power in assembly and general elections next year.

Pradhan, in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, noted the advances made in skill developments and energy as evidences of new synergy between both the countries.


Pradhan met UAE Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation Nasser bin Thani Al Hamli with regard to India-UAE skill mapping project. With digital age in focus, they discussed ways to develop skills of Indians working in the UAE. Pradhan said it is necessary for Indians to land here with required skills for the future jobs in the UAE market. They also discussed the need for synchronisation of certification and standards of the two countries so that people skilled in India are able to easily secure jobs in the UAE.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q: You discussed areas of skills development with the UAE Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation. What does the new development mean for a common jobseeker from India and NRIs working here?

A: Last two years, India and the UAE governments are talking to each other. The primary responsibility of both the governments is, where we have a total unanimity, they should come within the framework of both the governments. They should be well-skilled and well-trained. They should be well-protected within the work framework of the law of both the countries. We were interacting on lot of things, like how to create a common framework and common technology platform. So, if a person is coming from India, he can be properly registered in the digital portal. It will be identified what kind of skills he has and accordingly he can be placed in the proper area. His earnings will be in a proper scale. He can be traced and well protected. We are at a very advanced stage of engagement and once materialised, it will be a great boon to the economy of the UAE and India, also by means of remittances. This is a win-win situation for both of us.

Also, the UAE is preparing in a big way to adapt technology. While this change is happening, we are looking as to how the existing manpower can be reskilled and upskilled. It is too early to unfold the proposal but in principle both the governments have agreed on how to reskill people. Modalities and models are worked out.

Q: The deal with ADNOC is another milestone in this bilateral relation. How do you see such developments and what are factors behind such level of engagements?

A: See, there's total understanding between both the leaders. Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces His Highness Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have a common vision on how to develop this area, how to complement each other's economy. Our trade relationship is very strong and we are special strategic partners. There is 100-per cent trust between both the countries. Today, India and the UAE are natural allies. And we have to ground it in a bigger way. In this background, this energy engagement is big. The UAE is facilitating for Indian investment and market. The UAE is going to invest in our west coast refinery. They have already invested in Mangalore storage facility. Now, ADNOC and ISPRL agreed to engage in Padur storage facility. They are giving us opportunity in (Abu Dhabi's offshore) Lower Zakum. So, our relationship is at a new high.

Q: Why is that despite lower crude prices, benefits were not passed onto consumer and it is done only during time of election?

A: It's not like that. Crude oil price is not related to oil price in India. Product price includes refining, transportation cost and cost of investment in crude oil. All these things are added on in the product price. So product price is a bit different. In last 25 days, India has substantially reduced the petroleum product price. Indian government and many states have reduced their taxes. Whatever benefit we have got, it has been passed onto the consumer. India imports 70 per cent-75 per cent oil. The prices are transparent. Whenever there is a price hike, it will be passed onto consumer and likewise whenever there is a price decline the benefits has to be passed to consumer. In a welfare state you need revenue or how will we organise our spending.

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