DUBAI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday officially launched the foundation stone-laying ceremony for the first Hindu temple in the capital of the UAE.
Modi capped a whirlwind visit to the UAE on Sunday, giving a keynote address as guest of honour at the World Government Summit in Dubai.
While inaugurating the temple, Modi called it a “testament to tolerance” in the Muslim Gulf nation”
Modi praised the United Arab Emirates, home to 3.3 million Indian nationals, for having “harnessed technology” and “managing to create a unique economic miracle that we rarely see in the world”.
Highlighting his government’s cutting-edge initiatives, such as a unified ID system linked to mobile phones and bank accounts, Modi appeared right at home in the tech-obsessed emirate.
“We missed the industrial revolution, but we joined the digital revolution,” he said.
But ties are also inextricably linked to the oil-based economy.
On Saturday, Modi oversaw the awarding of a 10 percent stake in an Abu Dhabi offshore concession to a consortium of Indian oil firms — a first according to UAE state media.
“We have progressed from a buyer and seller relationship to an era of mutual investments in the oil and gas sector,” Modi said, cited by the state news agency WAM.
It is also a testament to the importance of the Indian diaspora, which counts a mammoth blue collar labour force as well as professionals among its ranks.
Later on Sunday, Modi flew to Oman where he met Sultan Qaboos and members of the Indian community in Muscat.