A SREENIVASA REDDY (ABU DHABI)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has addressed members of Indian diaspora in community receptions in several countries in his nearly 10 years of tenure, is all set for his second public interaction with Indian expats in the UAE in Abu Dhabi on February 13.
The Indian Prime Minister, who will visit the UAE to inaugurate the BAPS Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi on February 14, will address Indian expats at Sheikh Zayed Sports City Stadium a day before in a community reception titled "Ahlan Modi", according to the event organisers.
The last time the Indian Prime Minister addressed a similar gathering in the UAE was in Dubai on August 17, 2015.
The organisers in a press statement asked Indian expats to register online (www.ahlanmodi.ae) to reserve a seat at the venue. Complementary free transport is also being organised from other emirates, they said.
The upcoming Indian PM visit to the UAE will be his seventh since 2015 when he became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the country after 34 years. Last time he visited the UAE was in 2023 when he came to attend the COP28 summit in Dubai.
Public interactions have become a signature feature of the Indian Prime Minister's outreach to the Indian communities living abroad. He has also used the community events to forge closer bonds with the leadership of those nations.
An associate of the organisers told Aletihad that they are planning to make the Ahlan Modi event in Abu Dhabi the largest of its kind. The one held at Wembley Stadium in London is said to have been the largest so far.
Several thousands have already registered for the Abu Dhabi event, and more will join the queue as the event day approaches, a member of the media committee said. According to one source, attendance could reach over 45,000 people, which is roughly the capacity of the venue.
A series of cultural performances with over 400 local artists will be organised as part of the event. The organisers said Ahlan Modi is a result of collaborative effort of several community organisations representing diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
The organisers said the event is a celebration of the UAE-India friendship, which has blossomed after the present Prime Minister assumed office. After his historic 2015 visit, several landmark decisions were taken to cement the already-strong relationship. The UAE-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement was one such seminal development that completely rewrote the economic relationship between the two countries.
The construction of the temple and the decision to set up an Indian Institute of Technology campus in Abu Dhabi are among several of the landmark decisions that have redefined the relationship. The recent visit of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to Ahmedabad for the Gujarat investors summit and his road show with the Indian PM are further testimony to the strong relations between the two countries.