PM Modi’s UAE trip will help bridge India-Gulf ‘divide’

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be visiting the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the last week of this month. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is finalising the programme with full schedule of meetings in Abu Dhabi. The upcoming visit acquires significance as it is happening amid the outrage in the Arab world in the wake of negative comments made by the two former BJP leaders about the Prophet.

PM Modi’s meetings with the UAE leadership and other dignitaries will be an important step to ensure that the controversy is set aside and bilateral ties are given a new height, sources told The Daily Guardian Review. The MEA has already made it clear to the Islamic nations that the government has nothing to do with the views of the leaders who were immediately sacked from the BJP.

What gives a sense of positivity is that the UAE came out with measured reactions all the time, even though it criticized the remarks about the Prophet. But it did not also summon Indian envoy to raise the concern, unlike Qatar, Kuwait and Iran. What is more important to note is that the UAE and Saudi Arabia had welcomed the action against the now-expelled BJP leaders. Iran also expressed satisfaction over India’s action.

Diplomats working on the upcoming visit say that the equations and understanding between India and UAE are something that cannot be disturbed and derailed by the controversy where the Indian government is not involved. “The MEA has also reminded the Arab world in no uncertain words that India respects all religions,” officials say.

PM Modi’s trip to UAE will be part of his visit to Germany where he will be going to participate in the G7 Summit which is due to take place from 26 to 28 June at Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian Alps.

Diplomats believe that PM Modi’s visit to the UAE will boost ties not only between New Delhi and Abu Dhabi, but it will also strengthen India’s relations with the Gulf. This visit will reaffirm the fact that India and Arab countries stand inseparable despite all sorts of controversies.

With this in view, PM Modi’s outreach to the UAE should be viewed as India’s efforts to up diplomatic engagement with the Islamic nations after the Prophet remark row.

The ties between India and UAE gained traction following the fast-tracking of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which was signed on 18 February 2022. There have been enormous contributions of the UAE’s Indian community to the implementation of several developmental plans and projects there. The Indian community comprises a third of UAE’s population. Indians are largely responsible for building and staffing the UAE’s physical, financial, educational, and health infrastructure. All these aspects made the ties between New Delhi and Abu Dhabi quite robust and upward moving, sources said.