EMBOLDENED BY the United Arab Emirates’ backing of India’s move to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Saturday to strengthen the strategic ties. Modi reached Abu Dhabi on Friday night.
The UAE had viewed India’s decision on J&K as an “internal matter” as stipulated by the Indian Constitution. Sources pointed out that the relationship with the UAE has been of a major transformation over the last five years.
From UAE’s invitation to India for the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit early this year to their backing India on the J&K issue, Modi’s visit reflects a great deal of strategic convergence.
Ahead of the visit, a senior Indian official told The Indian Express, “There is a significant convergence of views on strategic issues including both the political and the security dimension. We have a shared stance against radicalisation and violent extremism, and this has led to exceptional cooperation on the security side. The political dimension was manifest in the invitation extended to India earlier this year to address the OIC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting as Guest of Honour despite the tantrums of our neighbour (Pakistan). This is a rapidly growing relationship and these are just a few of the manifestations.”
Sources said that while the visit is anchored in the Prime Minister receiving the honour the ‘Order of Zayed’ — the highest civilian decoration conferred by the UAE government — during this visit, it will be an opportunity to discuss all issue of bilateral and strategic interest.
The two sides will also formally launch the RuPay card to expand the network of cashless transactions abroad. Sources said that Modi was very keen that the RuPay card is launched in the UAE, after Singapore.
The two sides will also jointly release a stamp to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
“Frequent high-level interactions between India and UAE testify to our vibrant relations. UAE is our third-largest trade partner and fourth-largest exporter of crude oil for India. The qualitative enhancement of these ties is among one of our foremost foreign policy achievements. The visit would further strengthen our multifaceted bilateral ties with UAE,” Modi had said ahead of the visit.