Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Abu Dhabi for state visit
Mr Modi is on a two-day visit to the UAE capital where he will hold talks with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and receive the country's highest civilian honour
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Abu Dhabi on Friday evening, beginning his third visit to the UAE in four years.
Mr Modi landed at the Presidential Airport shortly after 9.16pm local time, according to India's official news channel Doordashan News.
Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority, welcomed the Indian premier and his accompanying delegation upon arrival at the Presidential Terminal at Abu Dhabi International Airport, WAM reported.
The Indian prime minister said he was "looking forward" to talks with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
"Deepening economic relations will also be on the agenda during this visit," he wrote on Twitter after landing.
On Saturday, he is due to hold talks with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
He is also expected to receive the prestigious Order of Zayed, the country’s highest civilian honour, which was conferred on him in April in recognition of his work to develop ties between the UAE and India.
Mr Modi will also launch the RuPay card – an Indian card payment scheme – at Emirates Palace and release a stamp to commemorate the 150th birthday of Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi.
Mr Modi has also indicated that UAE will play an important role alongside India to achieve his ambitious dream of achieving a US$5 trillion economy.
"We consider the UAE as a valuable partner in realising the objective to reach US$5 trillion economy through a mutually beneficial partnership," Mr Modi told Wam in an interview published on his arrival in the country.
Ahead of the visit, Mr Modi paid tribute to Sheikh Mohamed, citing their relationship as a driving force between UAE-India relations.
"The Crown Prince and I regard each other as brothers," he said on Friday.
When asked about receiving the Order of Zayed, the Indian prime minister said it was a testimony to the two nations growing partnership.
"It is also an honour for the entire Indian nation of 1.3 billion people," he told the Khaleej Times.
Mr Modi will leave the UAE for Bahrain on Saturday evening.
The UAE and India established diplomatic relations in 1972, a year after the country was founded, but ties stretch back centuries.
Today, more than three million Indians call the UAE home.
Annual trade between the countries is estimated at about $60 billion, making the UAE is India’s third-largest trade partner.
Mr Modi described building closer ties with the UAE as one of India’s greatest foreign policy achievements.
“Frequent high-level interactions between India and UAE testify to our vibrant relations,” he tweeted on Thursday.
“The UAE is our third-largest trade partner and fourth-largest exporter of crude oil for India. The visit will further strengthen our multifaceted bilateral ties.”
Mr Modi's previous visits to the UAE - in pictures:
Updated: August 24, 2019 10:28 AM