Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in the UAE on Sunday on a two-day visit to the strategically-important UAE where he will seek enhanced cooperation in key areas of trade and counter-terrorism as well as promote India as an attractive investment destination. Modi was received by Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and accorded a ceremonial welcome at the airport.
“Hello UAE. I am very optimistic about this visit. I am confident the outcomes of the visit will boost India-UAE ties,” Modi said on his arrival. He also tweeted the message in Arabic.
In a significant gesture, five brothers of the crown prince were also present at the Abu Dhabi Presidential Airport to receive Modi, according to tweets by external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup.
“For Crown Prince and his five brothers to receive a dignitary is a rare gesture reflecting imp attached to PM’s visit,” tweeted Swarup.
Modi is the first Indian prime minister to visit the UAE after the 1981 visit of then prime minister Indira Gandhi.
Ahead of his visit, Modi said in an interview to Khaleej Times: “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.
“I want to see the UAE as our foremost trade and investment partner. We would build regular and effective cooperation in a full range of security challenges. Our armed forces would engage with each other more.
“We will work together more closely in international forums and in addressing regional challenges. There are no limits to our relationship,” Modi said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi receiving the Guard of Honour on his arrival at Abu Dhabi on August 16, 2015. (Photo: PIB)
Ahead of his visit, Modi said in an interview to Khaleej Times: “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 also described the UAE as a “Mini India” and vowed to build a “regular and effective cooperation in security challenges”.
The UAE is home to 2.6 million Indian expatriates.
“I have begun my regional engagement with the UAE. This tells you the importance I attach to the UAE. We have resolved to sustain regular high level engagements and build a strong and comprehensive strategic partnership.”
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
PM Modi is expected to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.
Modi is scheduled to visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in UAE where he would pay homage to the late Sheikh Zayed on Sunday.
On Monday, the prime minister will visit zero carbon city Madsar. He will also meet Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai and General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE’s Armed Forces.
Discussions on forging joint strategies to deal with the IS threat and negotiations on a long-term oil supply contract are expected to be on PM Modi’s agenda.
He is also expected to meet business leaders and officials of Abu Dhabi Investment Board before visiting Dubai where he would address a diaspora meet.