Indian workers to figure in India-UAE meeting


New Delhi : The condition of Indian workers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be among a host of issues set to come up for discussions during a two-day India-UAE joint commission meeting beginning here Tuesday.

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UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan will lead a high-level 25-member delegation to the meeting while the Indian side will be led by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Speaking to IANS, an official at the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs said, "We will discuss the issue of Indian workers in the UAE in the course of our interaction with their delegation."

There are around 1.5 million Indians in that Gulf nation, many of them working as contract labourers. India signed a labour welfare pact with the UAE in December last year to safeguard the interests of Indians working in that country.

The joint commission meeting will cover the entire gamut of relations between the two counties – commerce, investment opportunities, security, culture, labour, energy, civil aviation and tourism.

The UAE delegation is also expected to call on Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath.

Though the India-UAE Joint Commission for Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation was set up way back in January 1975, it has met only eight times. The last meeting was held in September 1994.

However, with ties steadily improving, meetings between the two sides are expected to become more regular.

UAE rime Minister and Vice President of UAE Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also the ruler of Dubai, visited India in March this year.