Raju Menon_web
Raju Menon, Chairman and Managing Partner, Kreston Menon Image Credit: Supplied

The UAE and India have enjoyed robust bilateral relations for decades, characterised by cooperation in various fields, deep-rooted historical, cultural and economic ties.

The inauguration of the BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi is bound to further strengthen these ties. The opening of the mandir is a joyous occasion for the 3.5 million members of the vibrant Indian community, which forms the largest expatriate group in the UAE.

As an Indian, I am grateful to our benevolent leader, President His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for his kind gesture of donating the land for the temple and extending his generous support. Nothing gives us more joy than the temple being inaugurated by Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India.

Surge in economic ties

Last week, the Government of India ratified the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with the UAE, which aims to boost bilateral trade and employment in products to $100 billion and services to $5 billion. Coupled with the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), BIT will drive a stronger trust and economic cooperation.

Putting UAE on the spiritual tourism map

As Pujya Swami Brahmaviharidas mentioned, the largest temple in the Middle East will serve as a “spiritual oasis for global harmony that celebrates the past and recalibrates the future.” This divine place will attract thousands of visitors from across the globe. This will result in the country securing a place on the global spiritual tourism map.

The temple will act as an impetus to the efforts of the foreign diplomatic missions based in the UAE in promoting inbound tourism from their respective countries to the UAE. It is a fact that India’s tourism sector is set for a boom as more tourists will be arriving to the country to visit various religious places including the recently inaugurated Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. Varanasi, Tirupathi and Amritsar have already established their place as leading global pilgrimage centres.

The strategic location of the UAE, nestled between Europe, Africa and Asia makes it a natural transit point for international flights, acting as a hub for many international travellers to India. For sure, the millions of expat Indian and foreign tourists, on their way to India for religious visits, will want to stopover in the UAE to visit the BAPS Hindu Mandir.