Smart Diplomacy: India invites Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi as R-Day chief guest

In a diplomatic masterstroke, India has invited Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations in 2017. This is smart diplomacy as it will not only bolster New Delhi’s relations with the Gulf powerhouse, home to 2.6 million-strong diaspora, but will also aid India’s efforts to isolate Pakistan in the region over cross-border terror.

In a letter to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mohamed bin Zayed expressed “thanks for the kind invitation to attend India’s Republic Day celebrations”. “Our strong relations are deeply rooted in history. Our strategic cooperation has increased, driven by our mutual aspirations to develop it,” the Crown Prince said.

Inviting the Crown Prince seems to be the brainchild of Mr Modi, who visited the UAE in August 2015 during which the two sides launched a mammoth investment fund of $75 billion and agreed to intensify their security cooperation. The UAE robustly backed India’s position on delinking religion with terrorism, with the joint statement coming out strongly against states that sponsor terrorism against other countries.

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