Narendra Modi becomes first Indian Prime Minister to visit United Arab Emirates in 34 years after Smt.Indira Gandhi. Modi in his UAE address begins saying “There are more than 700 flights per day flying between India and UAE. But, It took 34 years for the Indian Prime Minister to visit Emirates.”
This is absolutely a historic visit for India as it knocks the doors of UAE at this juncture because it helps rejuvenating India’s Middle-East policy. This article further elaborates the importance of this visit.
To secure India’s energy future: Narendra Modi’s quest for energy has been perfectly evident during his earlier visits to foreign nations. This visit is no different. In the Gulf, Iran is seen as India’s biggest oil partner. When world nations, especially the West had put sanctions, Indo-Iranian relations were under strain in the international community. India’s imports from Iran had almost been halved after Iran suffered sanctions. Therefore, it is right time India begins to strengthen alternate relationships and so is with UAE.
Now, UAE assures to give oil as much as India wants which is definitely a positive move.
Bilateral ties with the Emirati: Indo-UAE bond is based on economic, religious and cultural ties between two countries. UAE is reportedly tenth biggest investor in India. The Prime Minister cited an immediate potential of 1 trillion$ investments in India while pitching his flagship “Make In India”. The joint statement between two countries upgrades the relationship to a new strategic partnership. India and UAE looks to enhance cooperation in terms of trade, terrorism, cyber security, military etc. The crown prince himself was present at the airport to receive Indian Prime Minister indicating positive enthusiasm in the ties.
Counter Terrorism: India seemingly worried over the expansion of Islamic State (ISIS) in the neighbouring countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Gulf is very important to check these activities as there is a history of signing extradition treaties between India and the Gulf (including UAE) and this visit helps reiterating its importance.
Middle East Politics: Now those Iranian sanctions are lifted, India looks to play vital role in the region. Alongside UN General Assembly in 2014, Modi had held talks with Israeli counterpart and now Modi is set to become the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel later this year. That means, India is seen clearly re-energising her Middle-East ties.
The Diaspora: Indian community in UAE amounts to 30% of total population is the largest expatriate group in India. Surprisingly Indian population in Dubai is more than Emirati population. Indians and Pakistanis together outnumber the native UAE population. So, Indo-Pakistan relations matter a lot to UAE. The Prime Minister interacted with 50000 Indians gathered in a stadium in Dubai.As soon as Modi became Prime Minister, Indian diaspora is being given significant role in the foreign policy.