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Thu 11 Mar 2010 01:13 PM

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Dubai ruler and delegation leave for India

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum embarks on visit to New Delhi.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, has left for New Delhi on an official visit to India, the WAM news agency reported on Thursday.

Described as “a friendly visit” by WAM, Sheikh Mohammed was accompanied by a delegation including deputy ruler Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation and chief executive of Emirates Group, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Minister of State Reem Ibrahim Al Hashemi, Director of Dubai Ruler's Court Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shebani and Commander General of Dubai Police Lt. General Dahi Khalfan Tamim.

Last month, the Economic Survey 2009-10 said the Dubai debt crisis is likely to have "some impact" on India's exports and imports as the gulf region is the country's largest trade partner.

According to a Press Trust of India (PTI) newswire report the survey said: "There could be some impact on India's exports and imports, keeping in view the significant share of the UAE in India's international trade."

According to the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs figures, India was the UAE's top trading partner last year with non-oil trade totaling $32.11bn (AED117.9bn).

Dubai World shook global markets on November 25 last year when it revealed plans to request a delay on repaying $26bn in debt linked to its main property units Nakheel and Limitless World.

The UAE accounts for about ten percent of India's $490bn total trade in 2008-09. While imports from the region amounted to $23.79bn, exports were at $24.47bn, according to official figures.

The survey said that remittances would also be impacted by the Dubai crisis, the PTI added.

The Gulf accounts for nearly one-third of total remittances into the country and 40 per cent of the population in the region is comprised of Indians.

The total money remitted to India in 2008-09 was $46bn, according to PTI.

"Indian expats comprise a large percentage of the total workforce in Dubai, the crisis may lead to salary cuts or job losses for Indian workers in the construction sector with consequent effect on remittances and NRI deposits," it said.

However, the survey said, the impact of the crisis on India's realty sector would be "modest".

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