Abu Dhabi: What does it take to be among the best in the world?

A key requirement for such a coveted status is for a country to excel across a range of criteria, including, inter alia, economic and political influence, citizenship, social welfare and economic wellbeing.

Within this perspective come the advanced rankings boasted by the United Arab Emirates on various world indices and global reports to testify to the significant political and socio-economic clout enjoyed by the country on the global scene.

The latest such recognitions was the prestigious status notched by the UAE on the US News and World Report for world's best nations, where the country was ranked 10th thanks to its far-reaching economic and political influence, robust, diverse global alliances, and modern army, including the embrace of advanced military technologies.

Laying special focus on the peculiarities of the UAE military power, a number of specialised research centres and think-tanks have recently shed light on the background of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, being a graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, with the UAE believed to be the Arab country with the largest number of cadets to have graduated from this academy, which is ranked among the most prestigious military institutions in the world.

In front of an audience at Mohammad Bin Zayed Majlis several days ago, former US Defence Secretary James Mattis said the UAE armed forces represent an inspirational example for several countries around the world.

The UAE sets a precious example in the world today

- Former US Defence Secretary James Mattis

He said he turned down "99 per cent" of speaking engagements but was keen to address a UAE audience because of his affection and appreciation for the country. He added the Pope's recent visit to the country earlier this year as well as the staging of the Special Olympics in March have strengthened the UAE's reputation overseas.

"The UAE has strategic patience in a world of impatience," he said, and the "country deserved great credit for exemplifying the strength of diplomacy."

Among other strengths that placed the UAE among the best in the world is its soft power, the real seeds of which were sown by the Founding Father, and now thriving under the insightful management of His Highness Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and ultimately fructifying into balanced strategic partnerships with a large number of allies around the world.

Such significant strengths corroborate the fact that the UAE's significant clout is not confined to its military power only, but also extends to include its enlightened political approach; prudent economic strategies; and preemptive social initiatives aimed at ensuring wellbeing, happiness and prosperity, not only for the country's citizens, but also for all those living on its soil, as well as various segments of international community at large.

The UAE is forging ahead toward reaping the dividends of the forward-thinking and nimble policies adopted by late Shaikh Zayed and maintained by our wise leadership world under all circumstances and at all times whatever the headwinds are!

- Mohammed Jalal Al Raisi, Executive Director of the Emirates News Agency