PTI Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates
Dec 05, 2018, 07.58 AM
India's relations with the Arab world as well as other Muslim-majority nations has improved under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Tuesday.
Addressing the Indian community in the UAE, she said that ahead of the 2014 general elections, political analysts were of the view that if Modi becomes the Prime Minister then he won't be able to take along the West Asian countries.
Swaraj arrived here on Monday on a two-day visit to attend the UAE-India Joint Commission Meeting here.
India and the UAE Tuesday signed two agreements, including one on currency swap, as Swaraj held exhaustive discussions with her counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed to step up bilateral cooperation in areas like security, defence, counter-terrorism, trade and energy.
"India's relations with the Arab world as well as other Muslim-majority nations has improved under the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government," she said.
Today, India is also having good relations with those countries who are traditional rivals, like the US and Russia, Israel and Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Iran, she said, adding this is possible due to the government's foreign policy, which is based on "nation's interest first".
Swaraj said that in the last four years the government has rescued around 2.33 lakh Indians, from around the world, stuck at various places including the Gulf countries or war-torn Yemen.
"It was due to our relations with Muslim-majority nations, like Saudi Arabia and Yemen that we were able to evacuate around 5,000 Indians and around 2,000 nationals of other countries, including three Pakistanis," she said.
She also appreciated their contribution in enhancing relations with the UAE, which hosts a 33 lakh-strong Indian community - the largest number of Indians outside India.
About the India-UAE relations, the External Affairs Minister said the relations between the two countries from buyer and seller (of oil for energy) is changing.
"And with the signing of today's agreement, the cooperation between the two countries will achieve a new height. This is only a beginning," she said.
She also praised an Emirati singer Yasir Habib who sang Mahathma Gandhi's favourite bhajan.
Swaraj arrived in Abu Dhabi on Monday on a two-day visit to attend the UAE-India Joint Commission Meeting