PM Modi's UAE visit postponed amid Omicron crisis

Written By: Sidhant Sibal WION
New Delhi Published: Dec 29, 2021, 04:27 PM(IST)

This is a file photo of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Photograph:( IANS )

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PM Narendra Modi during his one-day visit on January 6 was expected to visit Dubai Expo and sign the India-UAE free trade agreement.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to United Arab Emirates (UAE) that was to take place next week has been postponed.

The visit has been postponed amid global concerns on increasing COVID-19 Omicron cases. It is not the first time PM's visit has been postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis. PM Modi's visit to Portugal, France and UK was postponed earlier this year due to the COVID-19 crisis. Last year his visit to Brussels was postponed as coronavirus numbers increased.

India has seen an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases with Delhi and Maharashtra reporting the maximum number of cases.

A yellow alert came into effect in India's national capital on Tuesday which mean all non-essential activities have been closed and a curfew imposed from 10 pm to 5 am. 

UAE has also seen an increase in coronavirus cases with over COVID-19 1800 cases being reported recently even as mega Dubai Expo faces closure as cases have spiked.

PM Modi during his one-day visit on January 6 was expected to visit Dubai Expo and sign the India-UAE free trade agreement. At the Dubai Expo, he was to visit the "India Pavillion" which showcases India's culture, Yoga, Ayurveda to Space programme. 

India and UAE have a "Comprehensive Strategic Partnership" and have seen increased engagement at every level.  

PM Modi had visited the West Asian country in 2015, 2018 and 2019. UAE has conferred the highest civilian award 'the Order of Zayed’ to PM Modi.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, (MBZ) Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces, visited India in February 2016. MBZ visited India again in January 2017 as the chief guest at India’s Republic day celebrations.

The Indian diaspora forms a deep connection as the UAE hosts one of the largest populations of Indians. The Indian expatriate community of approx. 3.3 million is the largest ethnic community in UAE constituting roughly about 30 per cent of the country’s population.

Among the Indian states, Kerala is the most represented followed by Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Indians from the northern states also form a significant portion of the UAE Indian population.

India's prime minister will also not be going to Kuwait as was being reported earlier. The last high-level visit from India to the country was by external affairs minister Dr. S. Jaishankar in June.

During the visit, India's EAM had called on the prime minister of Kuwait and had held a meeting with the foreign minister of Kuwait. The last prime ministerial visit from India to Kuwait was by PM Indira Gandhi in 1981 and work is on the visit of PM Modi to the country soon.

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