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Indian PM to visit Wahat al Karama tomorrow
February 10, 2018
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NEW DELHI: Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, will pay tribute to the UAE’s heroes for their sacrifices and bravery at Wahat Al Karama in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, said Mridul Kumar, Outgoing Joint Secretary of the Gulf Region at the Ministry of External Affairs of India.

While briefing reporters on the planned highlights of Modi’s visit tomorrow, Kumar recalled the history of the martyrs’ memorial, which houses 31 commemorative panels that signify the solidarity between the UAE’s people and leadership.

Kumar stated that Modi’s first engagement tomorrow evening will be a meeting with His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, where new bilateral agreements will be signed. “After that, there will be a banquet hosted by His Highness to honour our prime minister,” he added.

Modi’s visit will be his second to the UAE since becoming Prime Minister in 2014. Preparing his visit to the UAE and later to Oman will be Kumar’s last official engagement in the Gulf.

Kumar noted that the Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC, is now India’s largest regional trading bloc and accounts for almost 20 percent of its bilateral trade. “Although 50 percent of our oil comes from these countries, and 60 to 65 percent of our total energy requirements are sourced from the Gulf, our trade has expanded and diversified so much that it now totals around US$110 billion. Such trade is no longer dependent solely on oil,” he further added.

The amount of money sent back annually by the Indian diaspora in the region is around $35 billion, which sustains millions of families back in India, he further said.

“A new aspect of India’s economic relations with the UAE is that inbound investments are now going not only to major areas of infrastructure but also to ensuring that their developmental benefits are passed on to individuals at the bottom of our society. For example, we had around $500 million worth of UAE investments recently allocated to low-cost housing projects in India,” Kumar pointed out.

The UAE also became the first country to contribute to India’s strategic petroleum reserve, through an agreement signed between the two sides during Sheikh Mohamed’s visit to India last year.

Kumar highlighted Modi’s planned activities at the 6th World Government Summit, WGS 2018, which will be held on Sunday, under the patronage of the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Modi’s keynote address will focus on “Technology for Development,” he explained.

“After the event, the prime minister will meet with select CEOs from Gulf countries. There will be CEOs flying from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, as well as several from the UAE. This will provide us with another platform to tell them about the possibility of investing in India,” he said in conclusion.


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