Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be arriving at Abu Dhabi on Sunday for a two-day visit where many themes are packed together, ranging from political messages to wooing investments. In a last minute change of plans, Modi will begin his trip with a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand mosque at 3pm.
A packed schedule awaits Modi soon after he checks into the majestic Emirates palace hotel, which has 114 breathtaking 18-metre high domes.
Modi will be visiting the UAE on August 16 and 17.
This is the first visit of Modi to a Gulf country, which comes ahead of Pranab Mukherjee’s trip to Palestine, Israel and Jordan in October. Mukherjee will be the first head of Indian state to visit Israel.
Modi is also reaching out to a different kind of diaspora, mostly of blue collar workers. The Gulf remained off the radar of the BJP for a long time. From the visit to the mosque on Sunday, which was earlier scheduled for Monday, he will visit a labour camp to interact with the Indian workers. The two day visit, which includes, Abu Dhabi and Dubai also has PM meeting the business leaders, top officials at the Abu Dhabi investment board, addressing a huge diaspora gathering in Dubai and visit to Sheikh Zayed mosque in the capital of the UAE.
Modi will meet Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai on Monday in Dubai. The PM will also meet General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces during his visit.
In an interview to the Gulf news ahead of his visit, Modi said he would like to improve the government to government ties with the UAE, which has 2.6 million Indians. “I want to change this mismatch in relations. This is not just the first visit of an Indian Prime Minister in 34 years but also my first visit to the UAE, a nation I admire,” he said.
Modi is keen on seeking investments from the UAE, especially in the infrastructure area, which India has been trying for sometime but without much success.