New Delhi, June 27 : The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is eager to keep all channels of communication and cooperation open with India, especially in the cultural, humanitarian and economic field, says a limited Indian edition book by a former Indian envoy to the Emirates.

"India and the UAE in Celebration of a Legendary Friendship", whose 5,000 copies were published by Indian Impressions, is to be distributed by Roli Books.

The book explores the strengths of the ties between India and UAE that have flourished for several millennia when the ancient Indian civilisations in the Indus Valley created maritime trade conduits with the Arab world (Mesopotamia).

Over the ages, the ties have evolved to suit the changing geo-politics, the book by Venu Rajamony, former consul-general in Dubai, says.

“It is through these (cultural, humanitarian and economic) fields that we build good political relations with other countries - based on mutual interests, respect and constructive cooperation,” Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and Prime Minister of UAE and the ruler of Dubai, says in the book.

“We look upon India as our neighbours and its people as friends. We consider India a force for peace. It is an active member of the non-aligned movement and the United Nations - as well as a great economic power - not only regionally but also internationally. With this in mind, we are keen to maintain and enhance existing bridges of cooperation with India for mutual benefits of both nations,” Maktoum said.

He said the relations between India and the Gulf region - in its contemporary avatar - go back to the 1950s.

At that time, India was leading the destination for trade with the region. Furthermore, India was the centre for healthcare not only for the Middle East, but also for the region. In addition, many Gulf citizens travelled to India to pursue education, Sheikh Maktoum said.

Estimates cited by the book say “India's exports to the Emirates constitute more than six percent of its global exports".

Overall, at least 70 percent of India's exports to the region come to UAE, the book says.

According to the UAE government, both the “Emirates and India are committed to promoting joint economic ventures as both believe that a successful economy is fundamental to a better life and opportunities”.

The book makes an artistic statement in cooperation between India and UAE through its cover - a signature painting by leading late Indian artist M.F. Husain shows a goddess in a red sari riding the great Indian tiger while a 'hijab'-clad firebrand tackles a galloping Arab stallion.

Husain, a citizen of Qatar, who passed away in London June 9, says in an interview in the book: “Working in the middle east has helped me reaffirm my Yemeni roots.”

Revealing his Sulaimani Muslim lineage and ties with the UAE, Husain says: “My ancestors were sea-faring traders from Yemen, who landed in India's western coast over four centuries ago.”

“They moved to Surat, Bombay and deeper south to Hyderabad, integrating themselves with the great Indian canvas and emerged as two distinct Indo-Arab communities. While one emerged as the Dawoodi Bohri community, who were the traders, the other was the Sulaimani who went on to make their mark in the field of education, administration and arts,” Husain says in the interview.

The Indian edition of the book is priced at Rs.2,500.

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