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India and UAE need strategic alliance in robotics

India and UAE need strategic alliance in robotics

If we look at the information screens on departures at any of India’s major airports, we’re likely to see a familiar pattern: Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah appear repeatedly on flashing displays.

Many Indians are already using Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Sharjah airports to connect via the UAE to flights to Europe, North America, Africa or elsewhere in Asia. Now that the UAE has become India’s gateway to the world, the two countries are also developing strategic alliances to reshape geopolitics across South Asia and the Middle East.

India-UAE relations have been on the rise in recent years. This has a lot to do with the efforts of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the ruler of the UAE and their respective very capable core teams.

UAE is one of the largest groups of Indians. Many Indians have remained in the UAE for decades and have developed strong cultural and family ties to the region.

Indians in the UAE top the list of remittances repatriated by non-residents to India each year, according to the UAE Central Bank. India’s FDI to the UAE and UAE’s FDI to India have increased significantly in recent years.

Dubai, the most populous city in the UAE, is now an international trade and business center and has been ranked among the best cities in the world. Dubai has decided to organize its economy around four pillars: trade, transport, tourism and technology.

Software, business and professional services, and education have recently been the main areas for Indian investment into the UAE.

The UAE and India’s mutual appreciation for society will only grow stronger in the years to come. In February 2022, the UAE-India signed the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which will come into effect three months later. The agreement is the first of its kind signed by India in the MENA region and the first of its kind between the UAE and any country in the world.

India also agreed for the first time to set up an Indian Institute of Technology in the UAE.

Robotics has successfully taken the global tech market by storm with automation and artificial intelligence. There is already an AI competition at an international level. There is a robot race where different countries compete with each other for government money and tech companies.

It is in this area that India and the UAE look like ideal complementary partners to leapfrog each other into the fourth pillar of the economy – technology. All possible synergies in this friendship and partnership are matched.

UAE, India, and China lead global adoption of robotics, according to an Oracle study

Robots are already widely used in UAE in public services like hospitals, operating theaters, pharmacies, banks, police, beaches, making car license plates, cleaning metro stations and many other activities.

India, on the other hand, is known for its technology-focused academic programs. Focusing on robotics as a discipline, India has become an ideal location for robotics research, technology, R&D and forward-looking applications. India also has great potential to implement robotics in manufacturing.

With initiatives such as ‘Make in India’, robotics as a prominent player continues to attract global investment to India, transforming it into a true pillar of robotics expertise.

As far as the Indian and UAE governments are concerned, they are doing their part to pave the way to accelerate the acceleration of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the region. In due course, government-private-public partnerships need to look at more medium- to long-term strategies that could focus on areas such as robotics.

The UAE already has a National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence 2031, and a very capable young minister is in charge of it. Dubai, for its part, launched the Dubai Robotics and Automation Initiative, which was recently launched by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai. The crown prince also called on various government entities and the private sector to strengthen collaboration with local and international research and academic institutions to create a regulatory and legal environment that supports the development of the robotics and automation industry.

India, with its government and private sector, can play an important role by establishing entities that can assist in training, developing and mentoring young Emiratis to scale up rapidly in this field. Those living in the region are all too aware of how smart, capable and tech-savvy the younger generation of Emiratis are. Over time, they will become a force to be reckoned with. If large Indian private companies and groups based in the UAE develop forward-looking plans to help both countries, the benefits to the people of both countries could be huge and far-reaching.

If purpose-designed international standard projects are created by Indian institutes in India and the UAE specifically to accelerate AI and robotics, the multiplier effect could be huge.

While the pillars of trade, transport and tourism will continue to receive attention and development, the Indo-UAE synergy in technology, artificial intelligence, robotics and manufacturing is incredible. Both countries are ready to work as brothers and friends on equal terms.

India should be cognizant of the fact that in the future some of its central cities may be outside of India. The UAE certainly encourages this.

Inside India, the UAE should do the same.

The author is TEXUB Consulting Director and a member of the UAE Superbrand Council.He also served as CEO of the EROS Group and has Extensive corporate experience working with organizations such as SKF Bearings and HSBC.

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