Abu Dhabi crown prince accorded ceremonial welcome

New Delhi, Feb 11 (IANS) Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is on a three-day visit to India, was on Thursday accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here.

“A day of engagements for the crown prince begins with ceremonial honours at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan,” external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke protocol as he personally received the crown prince on his arrival here.

Modi welcomed Sheikh Mohamed with a warm embrace as the latter alighted from his aircraft at the Palam Technical Area here.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also called on Sheikh Mohamed soon after his arrival on Wednesday.

A slew of agreements, including on defence equipment manufacturing and civil nuclear cooperation, are likely to be signed between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during the crown prince’s visit.

After the India-UAE relationship was elevated to comprehensive strategic partnership during Modi’s visit to the UAE in August last year, the first by an Indian prime minister in 34 years, there is focus on new areas of cooperation like defence production in India, security, counter-terrorism, in nuclear and space sector, and in the energy sector.

The welfare of the expatriate Indians in the UAE, numbering around 2.6 million, is also likely to come up for discussion.

The crown prince is being accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising cabinet ministers, senior officials and business leaders.

Delegation-level talks between Modi and Sheikh Mohamed are scheduled to be held on Thursday evening following which the agreements will be signed.

On Friday, the crown prince will leave for Mumbai where he will visit the Bombay Stock Exchange and meet Indian business leaders.

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