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Indian Prime Minister Modi arrives in Abu Dhabi
August 16, 2015, 2:18 pm

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in the UAE as he tries to strengthen the relationship with the Gulf countries and seek more investment to boost Indian economy.

He arrived in Abu Dhabi just before 3pm on Sunday in the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister in the past 34 years. Indira Gandhi came to the UAE in 1981.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, received Modi at the airport where an official reception was held after the visiting leader’s arrival shortly before 3pm.

Shaikh Mohammad accompanied Modi to the podium as national anthems of the two countries were played and 21 artillery shots were fired welcoming the country’s guest. 

At 3.30pm, Modi tweeted a message of gratitude for Shaikh Mohammad.

Modi will visit Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque at 6.30pm and ICAD workers accommodation in Musaffah at 7pm.  He is also likely to hold talks with Abu Dhabi Investment Authority in order to attract investments.

More than 2.6 million Indians live in the UAE and their annual remittance is estimated to be around $14 billion.

Bilateral trade between the two countries is around $60 billion, making the UAE India’s third-largest trading partner for the year 2014-15, after China and the US.

There is an estimated $8 billion UAE investment in India of which around $3.01 billion is in the form of Foreign Direct Investment.

According to experts this is a significant visit and will have number of issues on the agenda, including trade, investments, energy and security.

“So far, like with other Gulf States, India's relations with UAE have focused almost exclusively on commercial matters.  In future, India will need to take a more strategic approach,” said Dr. Kadira Pethiyagoda, a visiting Fellow in Asia-Middle East Relations at Brookings Doha Centre told Gulf News.

“Increased instability in Middle East is threatening Indian energy sources and expat workers. Gulf States' strategic location on the Western perimeter of the Indian Ocean, the region India sees as its future sphere of influence.”

He said India expat workers are central to the functioning of many Gulf States including the UAE. 

“The Emirates hosts 2.6 million Indian workers, around 15-20 per cent of who are white-collar professionals. They constitute 30 percent of the population and are the largest nationality group. This provides Delhi a strategic advantage in bilateral relations.” 

Source: Gulf News

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