Arab soldiers will be marching in Delhi this Republic Day, for the first time in independent India. UAE crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan will be the chief guest at the January 26 celebrations.
Before the Republic Day gala, India and the UAE will hold strategic dialogues on January 20. Union Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar and his UAE counterpart Anwar Mohammed Gargash will discuss matters redialogueslated to security, counter-terrorism and intelligence sharing. But the highlight of the meeting will be what the Indian government offers to UAE to boost latter’s investment in infrastructure, reported The Times of India.
The relation between the two countries got a new lease of life in 2015 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the country. He had urged the UAE to become India’s top ally in trade and counter-terrorism operations. The UAE, which has a sovereign wealth fund of nearly $800 billion (around Rs 54,50,839 crore), is the 10th largest investor in India, with Foreign Direct Investment holdings worth over $3 billion (Rs 20,440 crore).
The invitation to UAE’s crown prince is an exception for India, officials told The Hindu. In the past 50 years, the Indian government has never invited a leader who is not a head of state or head of government. According to reports, the reason for the growing proximity between India and the UAE was to “end Pakistan’s primacy” in the gulf country. However, Ministry of External Affairs officials dismissed it.