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PM meets Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi; unveils model of temple

Source: PTI
Last updated on: February 11, 2018 16:29 IST
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi held wide-ranging talks with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the two sides signed five agreements including a historic pact awarding a consortium of Indian oil companies a 10 per cent stake in an offshore oilfield in Abu Dhabi.

IMAGE: PM Modi was welcomed by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on his arrival in Abu Dhabi. Photograph: PTI Photo

Modi, who arrived in Abu Dhabi from Jordan on the second leg of his three-nation tour, was received by Mohammed Bin Zayed and other members of the Royal family at the airport on Saturday evening.

The two leaders hugged each other and exchanged pleasantries.

The prime minister thanked the Crown Prince for the special gesture of receiving him at the airport and said his visit will have a positive impact on India-United Arab Emirates ties.

'We warmly welcome our state guest and valued friend, the Indian Prime Minister H.E.@narendramodi to the UAE. His visit reflects our longstanding historical ties and is testament to our friendly bilateral relationship,' Mohammed Bin Zayed, also the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, tweeted.

Prime Minister Modi, who was in Abu Dhai on his second visit to the UAE, led the delegation-level talks with Mohammed Bin Zayed at the Royal Palace on Saturday evening.

Modi had first visited the UAE as prime minister in August, 2015.

He is the first foreign leader to be invited to this palace by the Crown Prince, who appreciated the role played by Indian workers in the development of UAE as a modern nation.

'Delighted to meet my friend, HH Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. We had extensive deliberations on boosting India-UAE cooperation and how this can benefit our nations as well as the whole world,' the Prime Minister tweeted.

IMAGE: The Crown Prince made the special gesture of receiving PM Modi at the airport, who is on a three-nation tour -- Palestine, UAE and Oman. Photograph: PTI Photo

Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that Prime Minister Modi had a tete-a-tete with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi before the delegation level talks.

'The two leaders discussed steps to upgrade the relationship,' Kumar said.

After their talks, the two sides signed five agreements related to energy sector, railways, manpower and financial services.

An MOU between Indian Consortium (OVL, BPRL & IOCL) and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) was signed for the acquisition of a 10 per cent participating interest in the Abu Dhabi's offshore Lower Zakum Concession, a statement issued by the Indian embassy here said.

The concession will be for 40 years from 2018 to 2057. 60 per cent of the participating interest will be retained by ADNOC and remaining 30 per cent will be awarded to other international oil companies, the statement said.

"This is the first Indian Investment in upstream oil sector of UAE, transforming the traditional buyer-seller relationship to a long-term investor relationship," it added.

IMAGE: PM Modi greets other members of the Royal family. Photograph: PTI Photo

To cooperate in the field of manpower, India and the UAE signed an MoU that aims to institutionalise the collaborative administration of contractual employment of Indian workers in the Gulf country.

Under the MoU, both the sides will work to integrate their labour related e-platforms for ending the existing malpractices, combat trafficking and organise collaborative programs for education and awareness of contractual workers.

An MoU for technical cooperation in railways was also signed between the two sides. The MoU aims at cooperation in infrastructure sector especially railways.

'The MoU will facilitate development of joint projects, knowledge sharing, joint research and technology transfer. The MoU envisages formation of a Joint Working Group for institutionalising the cooperation mechanism,' the statement said.

To deepen bilateral cooperation in the field of finance, an MoU between Bombay Stock Exchange and Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange was also signed. It aims at enhancing cooperation between both the countries in financial services industry.

The MoU would facilitate investment in financial markets by investors from both the countries.

An MoU between Government of Jammu and Kashmir and DP World was also signed to establish multi-modal logistics park and hub in Jammu comprising warehouses and specialised storage solutions.

Various buildings in Abu Dhabi were lit in the Indian tricolor as the city was decked up to welcome Prime Minister Modi, who also attended a state banquet hosted by the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince.

IMAGE: Modi unveils the model of the first Hindu temple to be constructed in Abu Dhabi.
Photograph: Courtesy @MEAIndia/Twitter

The prime minister on Sunday visited Wahat Al Karama, the UAE martyr's war memorial in Abu Dhabi and paid tributes to brave soldiers of UAE who made ultimate sacrifice.

Wahat Al Karama, which literally means 'the oasis of dignity', is a permanent tribute to UAE's soldiers and other Emiratis who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving the country.

Later, in Dubai, the PM officially launched a project for the construction of the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi, describing the holy place as a 'catalytic agent' of humanity and harmony that will become a medium of India's identity.

Modi laid the foundation stone for the BAPS Swaminarayan temple via video conferencing from the Dubai Opera House, where he addressed the members of the Indian community.

"I would like to request all those associated with the construction of the temple that the rulers here have shown so much respect for India. They have been proud of India's cultural history. Now it's our responsibility that there is no mistake on our part," he told the gathering, amid applause.

Modi asked people associated with the construction of the temple and also the worshippers not to cause any harm to others.

"This is my expectations from you," he added.

IMAGE: Modi signed five agreements with UAE including a historic pact awarding a consortium of Indian oil companies a 10 per cent stake in offshore oil concession. Photograph: MEA/Flickr

He also unveiled the model of the temple and thanked the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi for gracious donation of the land.

"People were surprised when Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince took forward the talks of building a temple in Abu Dhabi. I whole-heartedly thank his highness on behalf of all 125 crore Indians," Modi said, amid applause.

Modi said this temple will also become a 'medium of India's identity'.

"We have grown in a culture where temples are a medium of humanity...Holy place is a catalytic agent of humanity and harmony," he told the gathering.

"I believe this temple will not be only unique in terms of architecture and splendour, but will also give a message of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' to people across the world," he said.

Temple Committee members had presented the temple literature to Modi and Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Saturday evening in Abu Dhabi.

'PM @narendramodi witnessed laying of foundation stone for the BAPS Swaminarayan temple on Abu Dhabi - Dubai highway! The first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi being built on a generous gift of land by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi reflects UAE's commitment to tolerance and harmony,' MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

IMAGE: The Burj Khalifa was lit in the Indian tricolor as the city was decked up to welcome Prime Minister Modi, who also attended a state banquet hosted by the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince. Photograph: @BurjKhalifa/Twitter

The temple will come up on 55,000 square metres of land. The structure will be hand-carved by Indian temple artisans and assembled in the UAE. It will be completed by 2020, and open to people of all religious backgrounds.

It will be the first traditional Hindu stone temple in the Middle East, said a spokesperson from the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), a socio-spiritual Hindu organisation set up in 1907 that runs more than 1,100 temples and cultural compounds around the world.

The temple will incorporate all aspects and features of a traditional Hindu temple as part of a fully functional, social, cultural and spiritual complex.

It will replicate the BAPS temple in New Delhi and the one under construction in New Jersey.

Speaking to the Indian Community in Dubai, the PM said India's relations with the UAE was much more than that of a buyer and a seller as he hailed the country's growing ties with the Gulf countries as 'deep, broad and vibrant'.

"Today, be it the UAE or other Gulf nations, our relation with them is not just that of a buyer and a seller. It has become much more," Modi said.

The prime minister assured the Indian community that his government will work to bring to reality their dreams.

"India's leap in World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Rankings from 142 to 100 is unprecedented. But we are not satisfied at this, we want to do better. We will do whatever it takes to make it possible," he told the gathering.

IMAGE: The PM visits 'Museum of Future' in Dubai where cutting-edge and innovative technological and scientific solutions aimed at futuristic innovations are displayed.
Photograph: Courtesy @MEAIndia/Twitter

Modi hailed his government's bold decisions like demonetisation and implementation of goods and services tax (GST).

"GST had been languishing for seven years, but now it is a reality," he said in his nearly 20-minute speech.

Taking a dig at his detractors, Modi said even the poor people agree with the fact that demonetisation was a right move. But some people lost their sleep and they are still mourning, he added.

Modi also thanked the UAE which provided almost 30 lakh people from India a home like environment, away from home.

Earlier, Indian High School student and Guinness Record Holder Sucheta, who has the unique ability to sing in 107 languages, performed a medley of regional Indian language songs ahead of Modi's arrival at the Dubai Opera.

Modi also met UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and discussed ways to expand bilateral cooperation in trade, defence and people-to-people contacts.

He met business leaders from Gulf Cooperation Council countries and shared his vision of 'new India' with them.

'Strengthening our comprehensive strategic partnership! Prime Minister Modi met with Vice President and PM of UAE Sheikh Mohammed in Dubai,' the MEA spokesperson tweeted.

The two leaders had an engaging discussion on expanding cooperation in trade and investment, defence and security and people-to-people contacts, Kumar said.

Modi also met Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Sapar Isakov on the sidelines of the World Government Summit in Dubai.

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