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Indian PM Singh to visit UAE 'shortly after Ramadan'

Manmohan Singh's visit will be the first to the Emirates by an Indian PM for more than 30 years.

DUBAI // The Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, will visit the UAE in early August, according to media reports in India.

It will be the first visit to the Emirates by an Indian PM for more than 30 years.

India's external affairs minister, Salman Khurshid, said the trip would be a "stand alone visit" and not a brief transit stop over, reported the Indo-Asian News Service (Ians).

"I spent some time in the UAE and had a meeting with the Crown Prince, had a meeting with the Foreign Minister and with all their senior officials," Ians reported Mr Khurshid as saying.

"And we worked out a whole plan between now and the visit of the prime minister."

Mr Singh is most likely to visit after the Holy Month of Ramadan, which is expected to begin on July 10, said Mr Khurshid.

Mr Singh was originally expected last month before attending the Brics summit in South Africa.

The visit was postponed because Indian officials wanted a more substantive trip.

Indian ambassador to the UAE, MK Lokesh, said last month that they wanted to come up with more agreements on cooperation, bilateral investment promotion and protection, among other things.

Indira Gandhi was the last Indian prime minister to visit the UAE, in 1981.

There have been presidential visits from India with APJ Abdul Kalam visiting in 2003 and Pratibha Patil in 2010.

The founding President of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed, made two visits to India, the first in 1975 and then again in 1992. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, visited India in 2011.

There are about 1.75 million expatriate Indian workers in the UAE.

nhanif@thenational.ae

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