Something quietly is happening between India and the United Arab Emirates, and the world is yet to take notice of it, says India’s Ambassador to the UAE, Navdeep Suri, in this conversation with Pervaiz Alam. The UAE has become India’s third largest trading partner after China and the US, confirms Mr. Suri.
A career Indian Foreign Services officer of the 1983 batch, Navdeep Suri served as ambassador to Egypt before being posted to the UAE as India’s ambassador in 2016.
He says “The bilateral relationship has transformed into a comprehensive strategic partnership as both countries continue to explore deeper cooperation in new areas.”
Navdeep Suri has got numbers to prove why he believes relations between India and the UAE are going through a golden era.
The annual trade between India and the UAE has crossed the $ 60 billion mark, Mr. Suri quotes the figures announced by the ministry of commerce in India.
Indian exports to the UAE reached up to $ 32 billion, last year.
About 33,00,000 (33 Lakhs) Indians live in the UAE whereas the total population of the UAE is about 95,00,000 (95 Lakhs). There are about 14-15 lakh Pakistanis in the UAE.
Out of the total remittances of $ 70 billion to India from all over the world, $17 billion came from the UAE, says Mr Suri.
Indian Prime Minister Modi laid the foundation stone of a Hindu temple during his last visit to Abu Dhabi in February 2018. The site for the temple, 55,000 Sq Metres, was donated by Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Located at Abu Mureikhah, near Al Rahba off the Dubai–Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Highway, the temple on completion will be the first traditional Hindu stone temple in the Middle East.
In Conversation with Pervaiz Alam, Navdeep Suri also talks about ‘Khooni Vaisakhi’, a Punjabi poem by his grandfather, Nanak Singh, who was one of the most prolific and best selling novelists in India. Mr. Suri has translated Khooni Vaisakhi in English.
Nanak Singh went on to win the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1962 for his book ‘Ik Mian Do Talwaran’ which is likely to be Navdeep Suri’s future project.
Navdeep Suri has served as Indian High Commissioner to Australia, and at various diplomatic posts in Cairo, Damascus, Washington DC, Dar es Salaam, Johannesburg and London.