Modi, Abu Dhabi crown prince hold restricted meeting

New Delhi, Feb 11 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday held a restricted meeting at his 7 Race Course Road residence with visiting Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

“A meeting at 7RCR… HH Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan meets PM @narendramodi at his residence,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted along with a picture of the two leaders.

“An exceptional tete-a-tete. PM meets Crown Prince for a restricted meeting at 7RCR before talks in the evening,” external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup also tweeted.

Earlier on Thursday, the crown prince, who arrived here on Wednesday on a three-day visit to India, was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan here.

On Wednesday, Modi broke protocol as he personally received the crown prince on his arrival 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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