Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to begin his high-profile visit to the UAE today, for the ongoing World Government Summit (WGS 2024) in Dubai and the highly-anticipated inauguration of BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi on February 14.
It is set to be PM Modi’s seventh official trip to the Emirates since 2015 and the third in the last eight months. His agenda includes bilateral discussions with UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed to further enhance strategic partnership between the two countries.
The leaders are also expected to exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, according to a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office. India is participating as a Guest of Honour at the key annual Summit, besides Turkey and Qatar.
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PM Modi is also anticipated to meet Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. His agenda also includes the inauguration of the Hindu temple in the UAE capital and meeting the Indian community in the Emirates at the ‘Ahlan Modi’ event.
India and the UAE enjoy close and multifaceted relations underpinned by strong political, cultural and economic linkages. The countries are among each other’s top trading partners and the Gulf state also remains one of the top four investors in India.
India’s foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra highlighted on Monday that the Prime Minister is scheduled to travel to Doha, Qatar, on February 14 afternoon after the completion of his UAE trip. The upcoming visit is aimed at discussing ways to further “strengthen overall ties.”
Qatar’s decision to release Navy veterans “big diplomatic win” for India
Narendra Modi is expected to hold bilateral discussions with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad, and high dignitaries in Qatar, Kwatra added, underscoring that the strong bilateral trade between the countries currently stands at $20 billion.
The announcement came hours after Qatar revealed it has released eight imprisoned former Indian Navy personnel – 46 days after their death sentences, pronounced last October, were commuted to jail terms of different durations.
The men apparently faced charges of espionage but neither the Qatari authorities nor New Delhi made the charges against them public. Seven of the released individuals returned home early on Monday, and the one remaining stayed back in Doha and is likely to come back soon.
India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Shazia Ilmi said the latest announcement marked a “big diplomatic win” for India. “It shows how much the words of the Indian foreign ministry and Prime Minister matter.”
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