Modi against outside interference in Middle East

New Delhi, Aug 16 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for a “comprehensive strategic partnership” with the UAE and warned against “outside interference” in the Middle East.

Ahead of his two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates starting on Sunday, Modi also described the UAE as a “Mini India” and vowed to build a “regular and effective cooperation in … security challenges”.

In an interview to the Khaleej Times, the Indian leader said that the Gulf region was “vital for India’s economic, energy and security interests.

“I have begun my regional engagement with the UAE. This tells you the importance I attach to the UAE. We have resolved to sustain regular high level engagements and build a strong and comprehensive strategic partnership.”

Without naming any specific country or countries, he said India was “saddened and worried to see violence and instability in the region.

“I have always believed that regional or bilateral problems are best solved by the countries involved. We have often seen the consequences of outside interference.”

Modi, who will be the first Indian prime minister to visit the UAE in 34 years, lavished praise on the progress made by a country which is home to a large number of Indian expatriates.

“I have been hearing about the progress made by Dubai for years… This would be my first visit to the country. I always thought how this paradise could come up in a desert? What vision! What remarkable skill!”

The prime minister said the 2.6 million Indians who live and work in the UAE had made that Gulf country a “Mini India”.

“The Indian community has been embraced with such warmth in the UAE. The way the two communities work together represents a special bond.

“They have set an example for how an expatriate community can become a part of their resident country’s development journey.”

Saying India has emerged as one of the major global powers, Modi said that India and the UAE have everything to be a top priority for each other.

“The Gulf region is vital for India’s economic, energy and security interests…

“I would like to see a truly comprehensive strategic partnership evolve between our two countries. I want to see the UAE as our foremost trade and investment partner…

“We would build regular and effective cooperation in a full range of security challenges. Our armed forces would engage with each other more.”

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