Daily Archives: August 23, 2019

World must stamp out persecution of religious groups, Guterres says on new UN Day

NEW YORK, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an end to the persecution of religious groups on Thursday, the first ever International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion and Belief, which is marked on 22nd August.

The Day was created in response to an increasing number of attacks against individuals and groups, targeted simply because of their religion or belief, around the world.

Guterres declared that the Day was an opportunity to reaffirm support for the victims of violence based on religion and belief, adding that “we demonstrate that support by doing all in our power to prevent such attacks and demanding that those responsible are held accountable.”

Pointing out that all major world religions espouse tolerance and peaceful coexistence, the UN chief urged resistance to, and rejection of, those who “falsely and maliciously invoke religion to build misconceptions, fuel division and spread fear and hatred”, noting that there is richness and strength in diversity, which is never a threat.

The Secretary-General drew attention to two new initiatives set up to overcome the threat of violence based on religion and belief: a UN strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech, and a Plan of Action to safeguard religious sites.

In a message released on the Day, Guterres said that the best way to overcome the threat of violence based on religion and belief is by “uniting our voices for good, countering messages of hate with messages of peace, embracing diversity and protecting human rights.”

The world, he added, must step up to stamp out all forms of racism, xenophobia, discrimination and incitement to violence. ”As members of the human family, we must nurture mutual understanding. We all have a responsibility to look out for each other, to respect differences and to promote peaceful coexistence,” he concluded.

Source: Emirates News Agency

EXCLUSIVE: Modi says UAE can be India’s ‘valuable partner’ to achieve US$5 trillion economy

ABU DHABI, India finds a partner in the UAE to achieve its ambitious dream of achieving a US$5 trillion economy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the Emirates News Agency, WAM, in an exclusive interview.

“We consider the UAE as a valuable partner in realising the objective to reach US$5 trillion economy through a mutually beneficial partnership,” said Modi who starts tonight a two-day state visit to the UAE.

“India has embarked on the ambitious, yet achievable, path to be a US$5 trillion economy by 2024-25. We are targeting about US$1.7 trillion dollar worth of investments in the coming five years. To achieve this vision, the government is working to promote inflows from domestic as well as foreign sources,” the Prime Minister explained.

He said that the UAE-India relations are “at their best ever”, adding that the UAE investments in key sectors in India are growing.

“There has been an increasing interest in investments in India in sectors ranging from renewable energy, food, ports, airports, defence manufacturing and other sectors,” Modi said.

“UAE investments in [sectors such as] infrastructure and housing are being enhanced.

“The UAE is our third largest trade partner with about US$60 billion bilateral trade in 2018-19. Many of our companies are investing here in UAE. Both countries are working closely and vigorously to implement the commitment of US$75 billion investment by UAE in India.

“I feel immensely proud of conveying that India-UAE relations are at their best ever,” added the Prime Minister.

He highlighted the importance of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement signed during the visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to India in January 2017 as the Chief Guest of Indian Republic Day.

“Since then we have made enormous progress in implementing agreements signed in key areas, including defence, security, investment in infrastructure, energy and more. In other words, our relations are truly multi-dimensional,” Modi pointed out.

“I sincerely compliment the leadership and direction that His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed has personally provided in taking this relationship to new heights,” he said.

The Prime Minister believes that his third visit to the UAE, in the last four years, reflects the desire and will of the two countries to sustain the momentum achieved in the bilateral relationship.

“In this visit, I look forward to further strengthening our all-round cooperation. I also look forward to holding discussions with my brother His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed. I greatly admire his vision. I always find exchange of views with him stimulating and energising,” he explained.

“We have a number of important matters to discuss regarding bilateral relations as well as the regional and global situation. I am confident that my visit will serve to further strengthen our robust and vibrant relations,” Modi said.

“I am very upbeat about the trajectory of our relations and for opening up new areas of cooperation. I think there exist huge potential to make this cooperation a win-win (partnership) for both countries,” he added.

About the Order of Zayed, the highest civilian award of the UAE, which he is receiving on Saturday morning, the Prime Minister said, “It is an honour of special significance for me and my fellow 1.3 billion Indians. It commemorates the memory of a great and visionary world leader, the father of this beautiful nation, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.”

“It is an even greater honour to be conferred this Order in the birth centenary year of Sheikh Zayed. His ideas, vision and wisdom are very much relevant in the contemporary times. This award for me also symbolises the brotherly ties between our two countries and their peoples,” Modi stressed.

About Indian community in the UAE, he said, “We are immensely proud that the rich contribution of our community to building a modern, diverse and vibrant UAE are acknowledged and appreciated by the leadership of the UAE.

“Apart from the Indians whose remittances sustain their families back home in India, we are also witnessing a steady increase in investments into India by some of the top Indian business leaders in UAE.

“I extend my deepest appreciation to the leadership of UAE for looking after the well-being of the Indian diaspora here like a true guardian. I would also like to thank the leadership of UAE for the steps taken recently to provide long-term visas and other benefits to expatriates.”

Talking about the global economic situation, the Prime Minister said, “Global economy is facing some headwinds. Experiences of last five years, however, give me the confidence that the Indian economy and people of India have everything in them to not only face but also counter any headwinds.”

India’s fundamentals are very strong, driven by “numerous” strengths, he said.

The last 5 years have seen the highest average growth and lowest average inflation in the last three decades, Modi went on to say, adding that India has been improving its performance in “almost all global rankings,” such as ease of doing business or innovation.

He said India had significantly increased its contribution to global growth in the last five years, making India an important engine of global economy.

“I am confident that the collective endeavour of 1.3 billion Indians comprising millions of farmers, hundreds of thousands of industrialists and young entrepreneurs and start-ups and women, will ensure this.” He said.

“India’s skilled human resources, rapid infrastructure growth and the world’s biggest market are reasons for our optimism. At the same time, we are focused on further improving our competitiveness through long-term reforms.”

These encompass steps to move even higher in ease of doing business, tax reforms with lowering tax rates and simplifying procedures, labour sector reforms and FDI-related reforms to make investment in India more lucrative, he explained.

During the past few years, he said, India has become “the fastest growing major economy in the world,” adding that all the macro-economic parameters such as current account deficit, fiscal deficit and inflation were brought down to acceptable levels.

The vision for the next five years is to have an investment-led growth, Modi concluded.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Etihad Airways celebrates 15 years in India

ABU DHABI, Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, is preparing to celebrate 15 years of service to its largest and busiest market, India. The airline’s milestone coincides with the third visit to the UAE of India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, highlighting the importance of the partnership between the two countries.

Etihad launched daily flights between the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, and the Indian city of Mumbai in September 2004, within the airline’s first year of operation. Three months later, flights were also launched between Abu Dhabi and New Delhi.

Today, Etihad operates 159 return flights per week between Abu Dhabi and 10 key Indian gateways – Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Kozhikode, Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram – and through its Abu Dhabi hub, the airline connects each of these gateways to international destinations throughout the Middle East, Europe, the Americas, and Africa. Since launching operations to the sub-continent, Etihad has carried more than 16.5 million passengers on its Indian routes.

Etihad Airways Group CEO Tony Douglas said: “India and the United Arab Emirates share a long and strong economic, cultural and diplomatic relationship, and Etihad Airways connects these nations to each other, and beyond. We serve more destinations in India than any other country in our network, and connect India to the world via Abu Dhabi. Globally, we employ more than 4,800 Indian nationals, almost 25 per cent of our workforce. We contribute strongly to both economies, and last year spent US $151 million with 480 companies in India. Our commitment is significant, and will continue to grow.”

Etihad’s offering in the India market continues to evolve. The airline is continually increasing flights and adding newer, larger aircraft, including its latest addition, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which serves cities including Mumbai, Delhi, and Hyderabad.

Etihad Guest, the airline’s loyalty programme, recently partnered with SBI Card, one of India’s largest credit card providers, to offer a unique travel-specific Visa credit card to Indian travellers. And for guests flying Etihad from India to the United States, the Customs and Border Protection facility at Abu Dhabi Airport, enables US immigration, customs and agriculture formalities to be completed in Abu Dhabi before departure.

India is an important strategic source market for Etihad Cargo. In addition to belly space cargo capacity on the 159 weekly passenger aircraft between Abu Dhabi and India, Etihad Cargo operate dedicated freighter flights to Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai. In the past decade, Etihad has carried more than 560,000 tonnes of cargo to and from India, from general cargo to key Indian exports including garments, perishable products, pharmaceuticals and electronics.

Etihad also continues to support India through a range of corporate social responsibility initiatives, including its Global Education Project to provide or raise funds for new education facilities and supplies. The airline also runs workshops to develop skills and support the empowerment of women, and provides aid to assist after natural disasters such as floods in Kerala, where it provided fresh water, clothes, blankets, kitchen utensils and hygiene kits to more than 1,000 people located at a relief camp in the state.

As a minority shareholder in and key partner of Jet Airways, Etihad was able to improve international connectivity with India, via Abu Dhabi. Even after Jet’s flights were suspended earlier this year, Etihad worked consistently and constructively to help revive the Indian carrier, and continues to explore opportunities to collaborate with other local partners to help serve this rapidly-expanding market.

Source: Emirates News Agency

DEWA launches 6th annual Sustainability Report

DUBAI, The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, DEWA, in its 6th annual Sustainability Report, has summarised its efforts to promote social and economic sustainability as well as provide a sustainable model for energy and water.

The report focuses on ways to support economic growth without damaging the environment and highlights DEWA’s achievements in sustainability. It also outlines DEWA’s future sustainable performance objectives in cooperation with all stakeholders to ensure alignment with government objectives, including its own to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, 2030.

DEWA is also implementing and adopting the 10 principles of the United Nations Global Compact while adhering to the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, TCFD.

“This report comes as part of our efforts to enhance the UAE’s competitiveness in general, especially Dubai’s, to be a global centre for sustainability and the green economy. We aim to emphasise our commitment to transparent cooperation with all our partners and stakeholders as well as identify our performance and sustainable practices to encourage a culture of sustainability among them and involve them in our path to promote sustainability,” said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA.

“The report is a comprehensive and reliable reference for our annual achievements towards reaching the goals of UAE Centennial 2071 and UAE Vision 2021 that aim to transform the UAE into one of the best countries in the world. DEWA also plays a key role in achieving the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 to make Dubai a global centre for clean energy and green economy, and provide 75 percent of Dubai’s clean energy by 2050. DEWA also supports the Demand Side Management Strategy that aims to reduce energy and water consumption by 30 percent by 2030.”

The report was prepared according to GRI standards and has been subject to third-party assurance by the international firm Ernst & Young as per the International Standards on Assurance Engagements, ISAE 3000.

“Sustainability is an important aspect of our vision and mission, and we aim to implement it in all our operations as well as expand it to include the supply chain, and the society and economy of Dubai, for a better strategy to sustain trade. To achieve these goals, we are conducting research and analysis and benchmarking for a complete overview to develop a road map for DEWA’s operations,” said Al Tayer.

Source: Emirates News Agency