Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan with Narendra Modi
Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan with Narendra Modi at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi during Modi’s visit to the UAE in February 2018. Image Credit: Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court

Dubai: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will land in the UAE on Friday night, will discuss regional and international issues of mutual interest with His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on Saturday.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Modi said: “I look forward to discuss with His Highness the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, [the] entire gamut of bilateral relations and regional and international issues of mutual interest.”

“I also look forward to jointly release the stamp to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi along with His Highness the Crown Prince. It will be an honour to receive the ‘Order of Zayed’, the highest civilian decoration conferred by the UAE government, during this visit.”

Modi also announced that he will formally launch RuPay card in the UAE to expand the Indian network of cashless transactions abroad.

Frequent high-level interactions between India and the UAE testify to our vibrant relations, he said.

“The UAE is our third-largest trade partner and fourth-largest exporter of crude oil for India. The qualitative enhancement of these ties is among one of our foremost foreign policy achievements. The visit would further strengthen our multifaceted bilateral ties with UAE.”

Indian Ambassador to the UAE, Navdeep Singh Suri, said: “We are delighted that the prime minister is going to be here this weekend for his third visit during the last four years and during these four years, we have seen an absolute transformation in ties between India and the UAE. This particular visit is important because prime minister will be receiving the UAE’s highest civilian award, the Order of Zayed.”

The envoy said Modi will be having very substantial discussions with Shaikh Mohammd. He said this is going to be the first time that RuPay Card will launched in the Middle East.

Why Zayed Medal is significant:

The ‘Order of Zayed’ or the ‘Zayed Medal’ is the highest decoration awarded by the UAE to heads of states.

President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan had announced the ‘Zayed Medal’ for Modi in April, in appreciation of his role in consolidating the long-standing friendship and joint strategic cooperation between the UAE and India.

Commenting on the announcement, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan said the Indian prime minister had played a pivotal role in enhancing bilateral ties to the level of comprehensive strategic relations. He tweeted: “We have historical and comprehensive strategic ties with India, reinforced by the pivotal role of my dear friend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who gave these relations a big boost. In appreciation of his efforts, the UAE President grants him the Zayed Medal.”

In his statement to WAM in April, Shaikh Mohamed further said: “By granting our dear friend the Indian Prime Minister the Zayed Medal, we express our appreciation for his role and efforts in developing friendly relations and extending bridges of cooperation between the UAE and the Republic of India in various fields.”

Shaikh Mohamed said the historical relationship that the UAE shares with India is being renewed strategically and strengthened in preparation for the future. He praised the values that characterise Indian society in its diversity, especially tolerance, coexistence and respect.

Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed expressed pride at the strong friendship and cooperation between the UAE and India, and wished the country and its people continued progress, prosperity, security and stability.

In response, Modi tweeted: “Thank you, Your Highness Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. I accept this honour with utmost humility. Under your visionary leadership, our strategic ties have reached new heights. This friendship is contributing to the peace and prosperity of our people and planet.”

Honour for Modi hailed:

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs said the award in the name of late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, acquires special significance as it was awarded to Prime Minister Modi in the year of the birth centenary of Shaikh Zayed.

Indian businessmen in the UAE have hailed Modi’s visit during which he will receive the Zayed Medal.

“India and the UAE enjoy a fascinating bond of brotherhood, carefully cultivated over the past several decades. The UAE Government has recognised this strong bond and honoured Narendra Modiji with the Zayed Medal,” stated Dr. B. R. Shetty, founder and chairman — NMC Healthcare, Finablr, BRS Ventures, Neopharma.

“Under Modiji’s mighty leadership and stable government, I am confident that India will achieve stellar growth and success. Most definitely international trade and commerce, health care, education, IT, agriculture, renewable energy sectors will have a direct positive impact. Food security will be available in India.”

Dr Azad Moopen, founder chairman and managing director, Aster DM Healthcare stated that Modi’s third visit to the UAE is a clear indication of the growing ties and bonds between the two countries, which is being showcased on the global platform.

“We are hopeful that this will lead to further strategic partnerships being formed in key economic sectors like infrastructure, energy, health care, tourism and education and defence that will also encourage FDI from UAE businesses into India.”

Why RuPay launch is significant?

Dr Moopen said, the launch of RuPay card in UAE will also boost the financial independence and help the two million Indians who annually travel to the UAE on an average, while connecting the payment network of both countries.

Promoth Manghat, group chief executive officer at Finablr, said RuPay complements the rapidly growing digital payments landscape in India and is a strong tool that supports the country’s financial empowerment agenda.

“The launch of the RuPay card scheme in the UAE during PM Narendra Modi’s state visit speaks volumes of the commitment of the Indian government towards this initiative.”

“With the largest population of NRIs and as a popular destination for Indian tourists, the UAE is a naturally relevant market for RuPay as it expands its international presence, enhancing the mobility of globe-trotting Indians while providing a host of benefits to the NRI community in the UAE,” Manghat added.

Modi in the UAE — all you need to know:

Arrival in Abu Dhabi: Friday night.

RuPay card launch, signing of MoUs: At Emirates Palace on Saturday morning.

Guard of honour, bilateral discussions and official ceremonies: At UAE Presidential Palace.

Ceremonies include presentation of ‘Order of Zayed’ to Modi and release of commemorative stamp on Mahatma Gandhi.

Modi will leave for Bahrain following a banquet in his honour.