India has strengthened and deepened its cooperation with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar in a range of areas, including trade and investment, energy security and defence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday ahead of his visit to the two countries.
PM Modi will make an official visit to the UAE during February 13-14 before travelling to Qatar during February 14-15.
This will his seventh visit to the UAE and assumes significance in view of the wide-ranging cooperation between the two sides.
The trip to Qatar, Modi’s second since 2014, comes soon after the country’s emir on Sunday ordered the release of eight former Indian Navy personnel who had been given lengthy prison sentences after being detained for alleged involvement on espionage.
“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 connect is stronger than ever,” Modi said in a statement ahead of the visit to the two countries.
PM Modi said he looked forward to meeting the UAE President, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in Abu Dhabi to hold wide-ranging discussions on taking forward the bilateral 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,” he added.
At the invitation of the UAE vice president and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, PM Modi will address a gathering of world leaders at the World Government Summit on February 14.
“My discussions with Prime Minister, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, on the margins of the Summit will focus on strengthening our multifaceted ties with Dubai,” he said.
A highlight of Modi’s visit will be the inauguration of the first Hindu mandir in Abu Dhabi, the BAPS temple, which Modi said, “Will be an enduring tribute to the values of harmony, peace and tolerance, which both India and the UAE share”.
He added, “I will address the members of the Indian community from all the Emirates of the UAE at a special event in Abu Dhabi.”
PM Modi said that in Qatar, he looks forward to meeting the emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, under whose leadership the country continues to witness “tremendous growth and transformation”.
He said he also looks forward to meeting other high dignitaries in Qatar.
“India and Qatar enjoy historically close and friendly relations. In recent years, our multifaceted ties have continued to deepen in all spheres including high-level political exchanges, growing trade and investment between two countries, strengthening of our energy partnership, and cooperation in culture and education,” PM Modi said.
“The presence of over 800,000 strong Indian community in Doha is a testament to our strong people-to-people ties,” he added.