Abu Dhabi – Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks Sunday with Abu Dhabi’s crown prince on bolstering cooperation with the United Arab Emirates at the start of a two-day visit, state media said.
Modi is the first Indian premier to visit the UAE in more than three decades since Indira Gandhi came in 1981 and is due to address the country’s large India expat community in Dubai on Monday.
Indians, who form the UAE’s largest expatriate community, account for about 30 percent of the country’s population of eight million, with many of them labourers who were behind the construction boom.
On Sunday Modi and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan discussed “cooperation between both countries and means of strengthening and developing it to achieve mutual strategic interests,” official WAM news agency reported.
Sheikh Mohammed hailed India’s “distinguished and diverse relations” with his country “that serve economic, development, commercial, as well as cultural and political sectors,” WAM said.
Modi and his host agreed on the need to “build stronger ties”, it said.
They also “condemned extremism, violence and terrorism in all its forms” and urged the international community to step up efforts “to achieve peace and security” across the region, WAM added.
The UAE is taking part in the US-led coalition against the radical Islamic State group that has seized parts of Syria and Iraq, and has also joined a Saudi-led coalition against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.