PM Modi to inaugurate BAPS temple in UAE: Top agenda

| Updated: 13 February, 2024 3:05 pm IST

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has embarked on a two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), marking a significant milestone as he prepares to inaugurate the inaugural Hindu temple, the ‘BAPS Mandir’, in Abu Dhabi. His itinerary includes engagements with the Indian diaspora, high-level meetings with UAE’s leadership, and the inauguration of the temple, signalling a deepening of ties between the two nations. Departing from New Delhi at 11:30 am, Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to touch down in Abu Dhabi around 4 pm.

The Ministry of External Affairs underscored the importance of this visit during a special briefing on Monday. The highlight will be Prime Minister Modi’s meeting with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (MBZ), whom he last met in December during a visit to Gujarat. Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra anticipates the signing of several agreements to enhance cooperation across various sectors following bilateral discussions with UAE’s leadership.

 

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In a statement before his departure, Prime Minister Modi expressed optimism about the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between India and UAE. He also mentioned the strengthening cultural and people-to-people connections between the two nations, citing the recent visit of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to Gujarat.

He said, “Over the last nine years, our cooperation with the UAE in diverse sectors such as trade and investment, defence and security, food and energy security, and education has grown manifold. Our cultural and people-to-people connection is stronger than ever. I look forward to meeting His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of UAE, in Abu Dhabi and holding wide-ranging discussions on taking forward our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. I had the privilege of hosting His Highness recently in Gujarat, where he was the Chief Guest at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2024.”

PM Modi’s Key Agenda During UAE Trip:

Among the key agenda items are discussions on investments in digital infrastructure, arrangements for the protection and promotion of capital flows, and cooperation in the domains of ports and maritime affairs. The two sides are exploring potential collaborations in maritime heritage, fintech products, and railways. While specifics of the agreements are yet to be disclosed, Kwatra emphasised ongoing discussions aimed at finalising them during the visit.

PM Modi is also slated to meet with UAE’s Vice President, Prime Minister, and Defense Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Inauguration of BAPS Mandir and ‘Ahlan Modi’ Event

As part of his visit, PM Modi will participate in the World Government Summit 2024 in Dubai as a guest of honour. He will deliver a keynote address at the summit and inaugurate the BAPS Mandir, the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi. Additionally, he will address the Indian community at an event in Zayed Sports City.

India-UAE Trade Relations

The UAE ranks among the top four investors in India in terms of foreign direct investments. With a robust Indian expatriate community of 3.5 million, the UAE enjoys strong cultural and economic ties with India. The India-UAE-France (UFI) trilateral was launched in February 2023, and the UAE joined BRICS as a member on January 1, 2024, with India’s support. Defence cooperation between the two countries has also seen significant progress, exemplified by the inaugural India-UAE bilateral army exercise ‘Desert Cyclone’ held in Rajasthan in January 2024.

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