NEW DELHI–India on Wednesday said investors from Gulf countries could participate in its Rs.40,000-crore National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) set up last year to fund projects.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley mentioned this in his meeting here with the United Arab Emirates’ Economy Minister Sultan Al Mansoori, ahead of the India visit of Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said a statement from the Indian finance ministry.

Both the countries also stressed on need for increasing cooperation in the fields of innovation and small and medium enterprises, the statement said.

“Both countries agreed to deepen their engagement in the area of innovation so as to harness respective capabilities in a mutually beneficial manner,” it added.

The small and medium (SME) industries sector is critical for the growth of the economy and employment, Jaitley said.

“It was also decided that the respective institutions and industry associations engaged with SMEs would cooperate to harness the growth of SME sector in both the countries,” the statement said.

Following a separate meeting here on Wednesday between Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan with United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Indian petroleum ministry said the construction of India’s strategic petroleum storage in Karnataka’s Mangaluru with the assistance of the UAE’s Abu Dhabi National Oil Company is proceeding on schedule and will be completed soon.