First Stone-Built Hindu Temple in the Middle East Rises in the UAE Ahead of Modi's Latest Visit

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will begin an official two-day visit starting Tuesday to the United Arab Emirates, that will see him attending the World Government Summit 2024 in Dubai as the guest of honour and also later inaugurating the BAPS Mandir, which will be the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi, UAE’s capital city. Thousands of Hindu devotees are expected to attend the event.

Apart from also addressing the Indian community in the UAE at an event in Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi, Mr Modi will hold bilateral meetings with UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, when the “two leaders will discuss ways to further deepen, expand and strengthen the strategic partnership between the countries and exchange views on regional and international issues”. Foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra said key agreements are expected to be signed between the two nations after the talks in Abu Dhabi. This is likely to include pacts in the energy sector.

This will be Mr Modi's seventh visit to the UAE since 2015 and the third in the past eight months. Mr Modi will also meet Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is the vice-president, Prime Minister and defence minister of the oil-rich Arab Gulf nation.

In a statement last week, New Delhi had said: “India and the UAE enjoy warm, close and multi-faceted relations underpinned by strong political, cultural and economic linkages. Following the landmark visit of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to UAE in August 2015, bilateral relations between the two countries been elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Both countries signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in February 2022 and a Local Currency Settlement (LCS) System in July 2023 to promote the use of Indian Rupee and AED for cross-border transactions.”

The MEA had added: “The two countries are among each other’s top trading partners with a bilateral trade of about $85 billion in 2022-23. The UAE is also among the top four investors in India in terms of foreign direct investments in 2022-23. About 3.5 million strong and vibrant Indian community forms the largest expatriate group in the UAE. Their positive and well-appreciated contribution in the development of their host country has been an important anchor of our excellent bilateral engagement with the UAE.”

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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