Gulf News travels to India ahead of Modi's UAE visit

As Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares to visit the UAE this weekend – his second in less than three years – Gulf News Hub Editor Chiranjib Sengupta joins a UAE media delegation on a brief tour of India this week.

Chiranjib Sengupta


Follow our live coverage as we bring you the updates on UAE-India relations, breaking announcements, the odd news and the sights and sounds of India.

Modi will arrive in the UAE on Saturday, February 10, from Palestine, which will be the first visit to Palestine by an Indian prime minister, and on February 11, he will leave for Oman to conclude his four-day tour of the region.

Day 1: Modi is everywhere in Bengaluru

February 4


At first it was the threat of a citywide strike and deserted streets of Bengaluru (fondly called Bangalore earlier) that threatened our touchdown at the south Indian city on the first day of our trip to India today.

But then the event that threw us off track turned out to be exactly the opposite. Narendra Modi is everywhere in the city today. 

The Indian Prime Minister smiles at you from every nook and corner of Bangalore. The highways, bridges and bylanes are all crammed with his posters, placards and his Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) fluttering flags.

Bangalore Modi

For Modi is in Bangalore today, addressing a public rally at the Palace Grounds in the heart of the city – for which 3,000 policemen and a gigantic number of traffic restrictions have been deployed across the city.

Bangalore Modi UAE Visit

The entrance to Palace Grounds – where a massive security cordon is in place for Modi’s rally


It’s axiomatic, therefore, that traffic has come to a crawl along the arterial Airport Road and other highways. This, in a city that prides itself on its patient endurance of daily traffic.

Our driver, though, seemed to relish the prospect of his more unfortunate colleagues ferrying some of our other delegation members from the airport in the late afternoon – when the road will be completely closed due to Modi’s rally!

Earlier, a petition for a planned Sunday shutdown of Bangalore by Kannada Okkuta was thrown out by the Karnataka High Court – so thankfully we were spared the spectre of a car-free Bengaluru today.

Bangalore

This Sunday, Modi talks about development and domestic politics in the state of Karnataka, where the BJP is eyeing a return to power in assembly elections due by May.

But next Sunday, he dons a new avatar – as the keynote speaker at the 6th World Government Summit in Dubai, where he is expected to dwell on India’s advancements in space science as well as its record as the world’s fastest growing large economy. 

Between this Sunday and the next, watch this space for more updates, videos and stories as they happen.

Modi visits the UAE in a week

February 1


Warm relations between the UAE and India go back by centuries – but they seem to be enjoying an unprecedented momentum with four high-level visits between the two countries in the last three years.

Narendra Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the keynote speaker at the sixth World Government Summit in Dubai this weekend on February 11, along with other official and community engagements. His second visit to the UAE follows a two-day state visit to Abu Dhabi and Dubai in August 2015.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, subsequently visited India twice – on a state visit in February 2016 and as the chief guest of the Indian Republic Day celebrations in January 2017.

When Modi last visited the UAE in August 2015, he was welcomed by more than 50,000 expats from the robust non-resident Indian (NRI) community at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Similarly, when Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed visited New Delhi last year to witness the proud march of Emirati troops on Republic Day, the Indian capital was decked up in UAE flags and his portraits adorned key highways. Both the UAE and India will aim to build on that momentum to take the relationship to what Indian ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri has called a “golden era” in bilateral ties. India’s participation at the World Government Summit is a clear testimony of that.

Announcing the agenda for the summit, Mohammad Al Gergawi, UAE Minister for Cabinet Affairs and chairman of the summit, had earlier said that India carries exceptional experiences worthy of being global models to follow. “India has played a great role in space, IT, digital revolution and in producing the best human resources from around the world. We expect India to achieve a great economic and development momentum and be on a par with the world’s top countries,” Gergawi said.

During Modi’s visit, the UAE and India will also look to strengthen bilateral bonds in trade and commerce, space exploration, education and energy security. 

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