PM Modi’s visit to the UAE: 10 critical touchpoints



As there are more than 3.5 million Indians living and working in the UAE, and given that the two countries have formed an enduring bond, this visit is of particular significance.

Here is a quick primer to set the baseline on the eve of the Indian PM’s visit:

1.This is going to be Prime Minister Modi’s seventh visit to the UAE since 2015 and the third in the last eight months. He is the only Indian PM to have visited the UAE since Indira Gandhi visited in May 1981. His first visit was in August 2015. A bonhomie was struck up immediately with the ruling dispensation, and there has been no looking back.


2.It is being widely speculated that PM Modi’s UAE visit will be his last international trip before the general elections in April-May (where he is expected to win by a landslide).

3.The Prime Minister will meet HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, to “discuss ways to further deepen, expand and strengthen the strategic partnership between the countries and exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest”, according to a release circulated by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).


4.He will also meet HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Defence Minister of UAE, and the Ruler of Dubai, at whose invitation PM Modi will be a guest of honour (alongside Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Qatar’s Prime Minister HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani) at Dubai’s World Government Summit 2024 — where he will deliver a special keynote address.


5.PM Modi will inaugurate the BAPS Mandir, the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi, on 14 February.

6.On 13 February, he will be addressing a huge gathering of UAE NRIs at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi; the event has been titled Ahlan Modi, and more than 60,000 people are expected to attend.


7.Following PM Modi’s landmark visit to the UAE in August 2015, bilateral relations between the two countries were “elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership”. In February 2022, India and the UAE signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). In July 2023, the two countries signed a Local Currency Settlement (LCS) System to promote the use of the INR and the AED for cross-border transactions.

8.In 2022-23, India and the UAE were among each other’s top trading partners with a bilateral trade of close to US$ 85 billion. The UAE was also among the top 4 investors in India in terms of foreign direct investments in 2022-23. The upcoming visit will most likely witness more investment pledges or memorandums of understanding between the two countries.


9.The Indian PM and the UAE President are very close friends, and PM Modi often refers to HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as being his brother. PM Modi was awarded the UAE’s highest civilian award, the Order of Zayed, on August 24, 2019.

10.“India and UAE enjoy warm, close and multi-faceted relations underpinned by strong political, cultural and economic linkages,” states the MEA release. The 3.5 million-strong Indian community is the largest expatriate group in the UAE. Many of them are second- and third-generation Indians there; their families had moved way back in the 1960s and 1970s to set up businesses in the UAE. The contribution of UAE NRIs have always been appreciated by UAE rulers, and has been an important foundation for excellent bilateral ties.


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