Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be received by Gen Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces, a rare of warmth when he arrives in Abu Dhabi on Sunday afternoon.
Modi’s two-day visit will focus on stepping up energy, security and investment cooperation between India and the UAE, a Gulf nation which is home to 2.6 million Indians.
“We have a range of common security and strategic concerns in the region, including terrorism and extremism. So India and the UAE have everything to be a top priority for each other. This is the way I look at the UAE. The Gulf region is vital for India’s economic, energy and security interests,” Modi said in an interview to Khaleej Times. The UAE too is making the right overtures to the visit of an Indian PM to the country after 34 years.
“From a foreign policy and regional security perspective, the UAE has placed India at the forefront of its international partnerships and recognises the importance of broadening a comprehensive dialogue with India that deepens and diversifies our areas of engagement. There are particularly strong opportunities for UAE-India security cooperation in combatting terrorism, which both our governments condemn in the strongest terms in all its forms and manifestations, as well as in the maritime domain,” Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, foreign minister of the UAE, wrote in the Khaleej Times.
A packed schedule awaits Modi soon after he checks into the majestic Emirates Palace hotel, which has 114 breathtaking 18-metre high domes. Modi will be visiting the UAE on August 16 and 17.
This is the first visit of Modi to a Gulf country, which comes ahead of Pranab Mukherjee’s trip to Palestine, Israel and Jordan in October. Mukherjee will be the first head of Indian state to visit Israel.
Modi is also reaching out to a different kind of diaspora, mostly of blue collar workers. The Gulf remained off the radar of the BJP for a long time. From the visit to the mosque on Sunday, which was earlier scheduled for Monday, he will visit a labour camp to interact with the Indian workers. On the first day, Modi will also have a private dinner hosted in his honour by Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, managing director of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.