During his visit to UAE and Bahrain from Aug 23-25, the issues on the table include space, military, maritime security as well as strengthening trade and economic relations.
As part of India’s outreach to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leaving on a three-nation tour later this week. The visit comes close on the heel of the recent revocation of article 370 and the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir.
During his visit to UAE and Bahrain from Aug 23-25, the issues on the table include space, military, maritime security as well as strengthening trade and economic relations. Also, an MoU will be inked in both UAE and Bahrain allowing the Indian travellers to use RuPay card.
Briefing the media persons ahead of Prime Minister’s visit to two Gulf countries including UAE, Bahrain en route to France for the G-7 summit, Ministry of External Affairs Secretary (External Relations) TS Tirumurti said that “We have excellent relations with the Islamic world. And our engagement with Gulf and Arab countries are extremely robust and at an all-time high.”
In the UAE, both Modi and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and are expected to discuss bilateral, regional and international matters of mutual interest. The two leaders are also expected to review cooperation in the space, military, maritime security as well as economic relations. And, Modi will receive the Order of Zayed, which is the highest civil decoration of that country. This award was conferred earlier in April 2019 in recognition of his leadership which gave a big boost to India-UAE bilateral relations. The award acquires special significance as it was awarded in the year of the birth centenary of Shaikh Zayed, the founder of UAE.
Sharing his views with Financial Express Online, ambassador Anil Trigunayat said, “This will be the third visit of Prime Minister Modi to UAE and first to Bahrain which will only leave Kuwait in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) outreach. Conferment of the highest honour Sheikh Zayed medal is an assertion by UAE the importance the two countries attach to the bilateral relations that have truly become special, strategic and comprehensive.”
According to Trigunayat, in the ongoing Persian Gulf crisis UAE is playing a very important sobering role and for India peace in West Asia is a prerequisite for her own wellbeing. Hence the leaders will discuss the US-Iran issue as well. “Perhaps the biggest success of PM Modi’s foreign policy has been the rejuvenation of ties with the Middle East especially the GCC countries and their elevation to a comprehensive strategic level with concrete outcomes whether it is by way of defence, security or counters terrorism cooperation or for that matter the strategic investments and further intent to do so.”
When UAE had announced an investment of $ 75 billion in India, the Saudis upped theirs to $100 bn while inviting Indian companies to explore their own potential. UAE and it’s Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Abdullah al Nahyan and the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has developed an excellent rapport with PM Modi said the former ambassador.
“Trade with the UAE alone is higher than our trade with Africa even if it is mostly in transit.”
The UAE has also extradited wanted fugitives and criminals by India.
Bahrain hosts the US 5th fleet and plays a significant role in anti-piracy and counter-terrorism where India plays an important role and conducts SHADE (Shared Awareness and De-confliction) activities which include 40 meetings already located in Manama.
It also hosts over 3.5 lakh Indians and over 3000 Indian companies and are aiming to become another financial hub. PM Modi’s visit will lead to moving the bilateral cooperation to a higher orbit, he said.
The visit of Modi will be the first-ever Prime Ministerial visit from India to Bahrain and he would hold talks with Prince Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister of Bahrain, where an entire gamut of issues related to bilateral, regional and international will be topping the agenda.
With the Indian Diaspora of 350,000, the bilateral trade between India and Bahrain have witnessed an upward trend touching $ 1.3 billion in 2018-19. There are over 3,000 Indian-owned/Joint Ventures in Bahrain indicative of deep economic engagement between the two countries.