Indian PM Modi to address massive expatriate event on Feb 13 in Abu Dhabi


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a massive gathering of Indian diaspora in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on February 13. The event, ‘Ahlan Modi’, is likely to see participation of around 50,000 people. This will be a day before Modi inaugurates the BAPS Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi.

For Modi, diaspora outreach has always played a big role in his foreign policy initiatives. He has made it a point to meet members of the Indian diaspora in every country he visits and to address them. This, in turn, has led to the diaspora playing an important part in developing relations with many countries. The UAE is special from that view point. It has an Indian population of 3.5 million and is considered to be one of the places where Indians prefer to work and live.

The Indian diaspora today globally is estimated to be 32 million strong and people of Indian origin are spread all over the world, from the Gulf to Singapore to the United States. They wield considerable political influence and with Indians doing well professionally, the financial influence has also increased of late. India is one of the world’s biggest recipients of foreign remittances, according to the World Bank, taking in about $100 billion in 2022.

The temple inauguration, which is on February 14, also ties in neatly to this outreach to expats. Representatives of the BAPS organisation, led by Swami Ishwarcharandas and Swami Brahmaviharidas, had met Modi in Delhi and invited him to inaugurate the temple on February 14. Modi accepted the the invitation and this will be another grand event which will see the inauguration of a Hindu Temple in a Muslim-majority country. The BAPS Hindu temple has been designed to resemble a blossoming lotus flower.

But all this has also been made possible only because of deepening bilateral ties between India and the UAE over the last decade. Modi has made it a point to visit most nations of the Gulf and, in turn, most Middle Eastern nations leaders have also travelled to India. The latest being the State visit of the Sultan of Oman to India in Dec 2023.

India had invited the UAE as a special guest at the G20 Summit hosted by New Delhi in September last year. The UAE also officially joined the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) bloc on January 1 this year. Last year, the UAE and India signed agreements to establish a framework to promote the use of local currencies in cross-border transactions. India, after this agreement, also started purchasing oil from the UAE in Indian rupees.

While both events in February will be a way of connecting with Indian expats in the UAE it will also help the BJP’s cause as India heads to national elections later this year.

Modi had last visited the UAE to attend the COP28 Summit in December last year. – The writer is Executive Editor of


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