NEW DELHI (IANS) – Days after the UAE openly backed India over its Kashmir move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to pay a two-day state visit to Abu Dhabi from August 23, and also to Bahrain, where the administration cracked down on Pakistanis holding an anti-India demonstration last week.
The UAE, which shares close bonds with India, had on August 6 said that the Indian government’s decision to abrogate Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir was an internal matter of India aimed at improving efficiency.
During his visit, Modi would meet the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to discuss bilateral, regional and international matters of mutual interest.
The Prime Minister would receive the Order of Zayed, the highest civil decoration of the UAE, which was conferred earlier in April 2019 in recognition of the distinguished leadership of Modi for giving a big boost to bilateral relations between the two countries, an MEA statement said.
The award in the name of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, acquires special significance as it was awarded to Modi in the year of the birth centenary of Sheikh Zayed.
India-UAE ties were elevated in 2015 to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. In February 2018, Modi visited the UAE as Chief Guest at the World Government Summit. The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi was the Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations in 2017.
India-UAE bilateral trade stands at $60 billion, and the UAE is India’s third-largest trade partner. The UAE is also the fourth-largest exporter of crude oil for India and is home to a 3.3 million-strong Indian community.
The Prime Minister would pay a state visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain from August 24-25 in the first ever Prime Ministerial visit from India to Bahrain.
Last week, the Bahrain government had cracked down on a protest carried out by Pakistanis and some Bangladeshis over the Indian government’s decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.
The rally was conducted after Eid prayers in Bahrain. Tweeting about the action taken, Bahrain’s interior ministry had said that the local police had initiated legal proceedings against the protestors.
Last week, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was given a cold shoulder when he called up Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to complain about India’s moves on Kashmir. King Hamad had told Imran that Bahrain was closely analysing the situation in Kashmir and that all issues should be resolved through negotiations.
During his visit, Modi would meet and hold talks with Prince Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister of Bahrain, to discuss the entire spectrum of bilateral relations and also regional and international issues of mutual interest. The Bahraini King would host a banquet dinner in honour of Modi.
Modi would also launch the renovation of Shreenathji (Shree Krishna) temple in Manama.
India enjoys close and friendly relations with Bahrain, rooted in ancient trade and cultural links and people-to-people contacts and underpinned by regular exchange of high-level visits.
India-Bahrain bilateral trade has been on the rise for the last few years, reaching about $1.3 billion in 2018-19.
About 3,50,000 Indian nationals, the largest expatriate community in Bahrain, has been contributing to the development of Bahrain. The presence of over 3,000 Indian-owned/joint ventures in Bahrain indicates the intense economic engagement between the two countries.
The visit will provide an opportunity to further cement the mutually beneficial bilateral ties with Bahrain, an MEA statement said.