Modi’s Gulf diplomacy: India, UAE join hands to combat Islamic State

Against the backdrop of the emergence of the Islamic State as the top security threat to the region, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for intensifying counter-terror cooperation with the United Arab Emirates, the first Gulf country he has visited after taking charge in May last year.

As Mr Modi arrived in the UAE on a two-day visit on August 16, the first visit by an Indian prime minister to the Gulf dynamo in 34 years, he was accorded a grand welcome and was received by none other than the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his five brothers.

Speaking about the agenda of his visit, Mr Modi said in an in an interview to Khaleej Times that he wanted to see the UAE as India’s top partner in trade and counter-terrorism, while noting that both countries had a range of common security and strategic concerns in the region including extremism. “We have a range of common security and strategic concerns in the region, including terrorism and extremism. So India and UAE have everything to be a top priority for each other. This is the way I look at the UAE. The Gulf region is vital for India’s economic, energy and security interests,” he said.

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