Oct 9, 2009 - 12:32 - ABU DHABI, Oct. 7th, 2009: The UAE is now India's trading partner with with two-way (non- oil) goods and trade being valued at US$ 44.5 billion in 2008-2009, revealed India's Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor. This accounts for about half of India's total trade with the whole region. India's total trade with all the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) reached US$86.9 billion , putting it ahead of European Union (US$80.6 billion) and ASEAN countries (US$ 44.6 billion). "The UAE is therefore well ahead of the United States and China whose trade with the Sub- continent were valued at US$ 40.6 and US$ 38.9 repsectively," the Indian minister told reporters in Abu Dhabi during his current official visit to the country. A breakdown of the figures shows the UAE also on top of India's export destinations with a total of US$24 billion. But a total of US$20.6 billion in imports for the same period puts the UAE in the second place on India's top imports after China (US$31.3) but ahead of Saudi Arabia (US$19.4 billion). Total remmittances to India from the UAE in 2008-2009 were between US$10-12 billion, around one third of the total remmittances from the GCC, according to Tharoor. India, howerver, is ambitious for more and is looking forward to further adding impetus to the already strong and long-standing economic ties with the UAE with a foucs on investments, Tharoor stressed. On his first official visit to the UAE and GCC as minister, Tharoor held a series of high-profile meetings.In Dubai, Tharoor held talks on venues of economic and investment cooperation with H.H Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Minister of Cabinet Affairs Gergawi. In Abu Dhabi, he met with Minister of Foreign Trade Sheikha Lubna Al -Qassimi. The UAE is the second and last leg in Tharoor's regional tour which also took in Bahrain. Tharror already held meetings with the Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC) in Dubai and is set to hold yet another meeting with the Indian Business and Professional Group (IBPG) in Abu Dhabi later today. "India supports the UAE's creative and ambitious initiatives aimed at diversifying energy sources and was among the supporters of Abu Dhabi's successful bid to host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)," he said. The two countries already maintain very good political, economic and cultural ties and are set for taking this further on. An invitation to Sheikha Lubna's to India later this year is pending confirmation, Tharoor added.