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PM Modi to lay foundation stone of Hindu temple in UAE capital

SNS | New Delhi |

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be in United Arab Emirates (UAE) from February 10-11 during his four-day visit to three countries in the Middle East.

“The Gulf and West Asian region is a key priority in our external engagement. We enjoy vibrant multi-dimensional ties with the countries there,” wrote the PM on Twitter on Thursday, 8 February, a day before embarking on the tour.

During his visit to the UAE, the PM will be laying the foundation stone of the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi via video link from Dubai. The event is scheduled for Sunday, 11 February, at Dubai Opera House.

The temple will be constructed at a site along the new Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway.

Quoting Indian Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri, Khaleej Times reports that the construction of the temple will serve as a reminder of “UAE’s own spirit of tolerance and diversity”.

Suri thanked Sheikh Mohamed of UAE for his “generosity and graciousness in providing a very large tract of land for this temple”. He said that the temple will be a beacon of Indian culture in UAE.

The 20,000 square-metre BAPS temple complex will be largest in the UAE. It will house idols of Krishna, Shiva and Ayyappa. The complex will also have a garden and waterfront.

The temple is a result of a special request made by PM Modi during his visit to UAE in 2015 for Indian nationals in the country.

Suri said that PM Modi will hold discussions with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. He will also meet rulers, community members and businessmen of the Emirate, and will be guest of honour at the World Government Summit.

At least 12 agreements are expected to be signed between UAE and India.

At UAE, PM Modi will also pay tribute at the war memorial Wahat Al Karama. Before leaving, the PM will also meet members of the Indian Diaspora in the country.

In Palestine, PM Modi will also be the first Indian Prime Minister to pay tributes at the memorial of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. At Oman, the PM will be visiting a temple and a mosque.