Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the UAE on a two-day official tour next week, a senior official has said.
“An official announcement of the visit will come from New Delhi and it is expected soon,” a senior Indian government official told Gulf News, adding, “preparations are well underway for the visit.”
“We don’t want to be caught off guard and are preparing for the visit,” another Indian official said.
The Indian leader is expected to be here on August 16 and 17 and would have official engagements in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. “A visit of this nature will cover Abu Dhabi and Dubai,” the official said.
First visit by an Indian PM to UAE in 34 years
Modi’s visit will be the first by an Indian prime minister since Indira Gandhi came here 34 years ago in 1981.
In addition to his official engagements, Modi is expected to attend a public reception hosted by members of the Indian community at Dubai Cricket Stadium on August 17, the Indian Consulate General announced on Saturday.
“He is on a strategic trip to the UAE, I want our Indian community to take full advantage of this trip,” Indian businessman Dr BR Shetty told Gulf News. “It is a free event and transport will be provided from Dubai Mall and Dubai Internet City metro stations. More details will be announced soon,” Dr Shetty who is a member of the organising committee said.
Reception similar to events in US, Canada, Australia
The reception is expected to be similar to community events Modi addressed in the US, Canada, Australia and other countries he travelled since he was elected to office in May last year.
The visit, meanwhile, is expected to focus on energy, trade and security partnership between UAE and India. Modi’s predecessor Dr Manmohan Singh had planned to visit the UAE twice but cancelled it due to domestic engagements.
The visit to the UAE could be seen as a balancing act by Modi ahead of his planned visit to Israel later this year.
In June, Congress said Modi’s visit to Israel is “worrisome” as it undermines India’s position on Palestine and also “destroys balance” in India’s foreign policy.