Modi’s Historic visit to United Arab Emirates

The relationship between trust and money is very complex to understand especially in international relations, for the time being it appears that Modi’s visit has strengthened the bilateral relations.



Shahnawaz Gul                                      


Research Scholar

Department of Political Science

University of Kashmir           

             In his Independence Day speech the wsay Prime Minister Modi was figuring the money accumulated from small endeavors gives us a clear cut idea that how Modi looks more like a shopkeeper in his domestic policies. At a foreign policy front Modi’s visit to the UAE could be looked from the similar context. Modi realized the importance of the theocratic Muslim country and subsequently becoming the first Indian Prime Minister in thirty four years after Indira Gandhi to Visit UAE.

              The significant factors which materialized the Indian Prime Ministers out of queue visit to UAE are- the presence of humongous Indian community living in UAE, bilateral cooperation in Energy, Trade, Security and Investment. One more factor why it is comfortable for India to forge the robust relations with UAE is that in comparison to rest of the Gulf monarchy UAE is religiously less conservative and open society.

           What forced Indian Prime minister to visit ICAD Residential Labour Camp in Abu Dhabi to see the living conditions of the workers that too long after thirty four years? Indian community in UAE constitutes a whopping 30% of UAEs population and  constitute $10 billion that is 20% of Indian total remittances. That way Indian expatriate community share a big contribution in the development of India back home.

            Modi visited famous Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi which is looked upon by people with diverse perspectives both in UAE and in India. Modi with Hindu nationalist tag visiting grand Mosque symbolically is going to be a special movement for Indian community living in UAE majority of them are Muslims from south India. As it is said that every foreign visit is loaded with elements of its domestic constituency. This time Bihar state assembly elections are considered as an objective behind visiting grand mosque to lure the Muslim majority in the state of Bihar. Bihar assembly elections are turning into a battle of pride for Modi’s BJP. Although many people are opposing this view and are simply seeing this as a cultural event to visit grand mosque.

         Ahead of the visit, Modi in an interview said that the UAE was a valued partner and the extent of bilateral ties indicate the vibrant relations the nations enjoy. This can be mulled from the fact that for the UAE, India is its second largest trading partner. The UAE is India’s third largest trading partner. UAE companies have a long history although with varied experience in working in India.

Modi tried and got a considerable success to enhance cooperation in energy and trade and reached out to investors to hardsell India as an attractive business destination. This was reflected from the fact that Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has announced to invest 450 lakh crore Indian rupees in India. For Modi it is not only money but trust of UAE government which he has been able to won. The relationship between trust and money is very complex to understand especially in international relations, for the time being it seems that Modi’s visit has strengthened the bilateral relations.

Security has been another potential area of cooperation between India and UAE, both the countries have already entered into treaties and agreements on extradition, mutual legal assistance in criminal and civil matters, combating trafficking in narcotics, and information cooperation apart from maritime interaction. There are some areas were both UAE and India could bilaterally cooperate in combating terrorism. Modi retreats in Dubai speech that both the governments condemn terrorism in the strongest terms in all its forms and manifestations. He also revealed that the UAE has supported India’s stand on pursuing a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that has been pending for a while. With the emergence of the IS as a global threat, the security and strategic dimensions of the relationship have become more pronounced. Both countries have been in conflict with Islamist militants, and the Joint statement undertook to increase cooperation in counter-terrorism operations and intelligence sharing.

Economic and commercial cooperation is a prominent factor in bilateral relationship between the two countries. India-UAE trade valued has gone up to around USD 60 billion. It has set a target of increasing bilateral trade by 60 percent in the next five years and pledged cooperation in developing and launching satellites, as well as peaceful uses of nuclear energy. A joint statement by the two governments said the UAE would help India develop strategic petroleum reserves in addition to its upstream and downstream petroleum sectors.

In an attempt to fulfill the dream of make in India.One of the most significant take away of the bilateral engagement is that the India and the UAE  will set up a multi-billion dollar fund to invest in Indian infrastructure projects and cooperate in producing military equipment, space technology and nuclear energy. Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyan Jaishankar said that the fund will aim to raise $75 billion to build railways, ports, roads and other projects in India.

As for as defense cooperation is concerned the preparation was already going on between the officials of the two governments The first meeting of Joint Committee on Security Matters had taken place in March, 2013. With the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Defense Cooperation, a Joint Defense Cooperation Committee (JDCC) was established. The JDCC provides a platform for regular exchange of dialogue in the defense sector. Modi has been able to motivate the UAE  governments to cooperate in manufacture of defense equipment in India.

Modi ended his historic visit with a Madison like address to a mammoth gathering of almost 50,000 Indian Diaspora. The highlight of the speech was to convince people that India has transformed to a ‘New India’ from last one year where Dialogue, Democracy, Accommodation, Conflict Resolution and Humanitarian approach prevails he supported this argument with examples like Naga peace agreement, Bangladesh land swap, Relief  to Nepal and water aid to Maldives and care for Sri Lankan Jaffna.

At optical and theoretical level Modi’s UAE visit has done well. But the real success of visit could only be judged when all measure taken and discussed are operational on ground.