NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UAE will see not only a speech to Indian expats at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, but also includes a trip to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, as he hopes to attract Emirati capital to fund India’s infrastructure needs.
A day after Independence Day, Modi will be in Abu Dhabi, his first stop in the UAE, marking the first visit by an Indian PM since Indira Gandhi’s trip there in 1981.
In Abu Dhabi, he will hold talks with Crown Prince General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. The Abu Dhabi royal family holds the Presidency of the UAE, while the Dubai Emirs are the Prime Ministers of the oil-rich gulf nation.
Modi will spend a substantial chunk of his time in Masdar city, “a zero carbon city, which is an effort towards creating a cleaner and greener tomorrow”. He will be shown a number of presentations, as well as hold talks on his pet subject of renewable energy.
Thereafter, he will meet Indian workers at a residential city. The UAE has a population of 2.6 million Indian expatriates, who account for about half of the remittances sent out of the Gulf country.
On Monday morning, he will visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, which will be his first visit to a free-standing Islamic house of worship. During his central Asia tour, he had visited the mausoleum of Turkmenistan’s first president Saparmurat Niyazov, where prayers are also held.
Modi will then proceed to Dubai, where he will meet the ruler, who is also the UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The Dubai Cricket Stadium will host the public reception for Modi, with 50,000 Indian expatriates expected to hear Modi for the event which begins at 7.30 pm.
Ahead of the visit, Modi on Thursday said in a statement that the UAE was ‘a valued partner’ and the extent of our ties indicate the vibrant relations India and the UAE enjoy. “India is UAE’s second largest trading partner and the UAE is India’s third largest trade partner.”
The India-UAE trade crossed $59 billion in 2014-15, making the country India’s third largest trading partner after China and the US.