New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will officially visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from February 13 to 14, his seventh visit since 2015, as he is set to inaugurate the country’s first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi. PM Modi will inaugurate the BAPS Hindu Temple on February 14 at the behest of Swami Ishwarcharandas and Swami Brahmaviharidas, along with the board of directors of the temple.
According to an official release, the PM will hold bilateral talks with UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, wherein the two leaders will 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.
PM Modi will also visit his UAE counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and will participate in the World Government Summit 2024 to be held in Dubai as the Guest of Honour and deliver a special keynote address at the Summit. He will also address the Indian community in the UAE at an event in Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi after the inauguration of the temple.
The visit comes amid soaring ties between India and the Arab nation, as both are among each other’s top trading partners with a bilateral trade of about $85 billion in 2022-23. The UAE is also among the top four investors in India in terms of foreign direct investments in 2022-23. Additionally, the UAE houses about 3.5 million Indians, making it the largest expatriate group in the nation.
India-UAE bilateral relations were elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership after PM Modi visited the country in 2015. Both countries signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in February 2022 and a Local Currency Settlement (LCS) System in July 2023 to promote the use of Indian Rupee and AED for cross-border transactions.
Inauguration of BAPS Hindu Temple
Ahead of the inauguration of the Hindu temple in the UAE by PM Modi, Swami Mahant Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of BAPS, arrived in the country to oversee the grand opening of the temple on a 27-acre piece of land in Abu Mureikhah district.
The inauguration of the iconic Mandir will be celebrated through the ‘Festival of Harmony’ – a series of uplifting programs and community events focused on strengthening faith, mobilising community service, and inspiring harmony among people of all generations and backgrounds, the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) said in a press release.
PM Modi received the invitation from Swami Ishwarcharandas and Swami Brahmaviharidas, along with the board of directors of the temple. He and Swami Ishwarcharandas met at the former’s official residence in December, where accepted the invitation gracefully and expressed his unwavering support for the historic and iconic temple.
According to a release, Hindus in the UAE have nurtured their faith for decades through weekly satsang assemblies, gatherings dedicated to prayer, spiritual discourses, and community building. These assemblies, further strengthened by regular visits of spiritual leaders from India, provided a sense of belonging and shared purpose. It was within this fertile ground of devotion and community spirit that the dream of a mandir truly blossomed.
ALSO READ | PM Modi to inaugurate UAE’s first BAPS Hindu Temple in Abu Dhabi on February 14