India’s new outreach to the Arab world, which began with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s travel to the UAE in August 2015 is picking up new momentum with the current visit to New Delhi by King Abdullah of Jordan.
Modi visited Ramallah on 10th February, becoming the first Indian Prime Minister to travel to Palestine. The President of India earlier made the first ever visit by an Indian head of state to Palestine in 2015.
India’s Foreign Secretary, Vijay Gokhale, said Modi’s trip to Ramallah "reflects the government of India’s commitment to the cause of Palestine."
During February, on the same trip that took him to Ramallah,Modi also visited Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Muscat., while, in the same week, India’s External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj made her first official visit to Saudi Arabia.
In her presence, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud inaugurated the annual Janadriyah Festival, which celebrates the Kingdom’s "national heritage and culture." For the first time, India was the "Guest of Honour" at the Festival.
The India Pavilion at the event was based on the theme "Saudi ka Dost Bharat" meaning "Saudi’s friend India."
This month, India will be the "Country of Honour" at the prestigious Abu Dhabi Festival (ADF). This year’s ADF, its 15th edition, is of special interest to India because of its theme, "The Year of Zayed."
Navdeep Suri, Indian Ambassador to the UAE, said, "It is a matter of pride that India has been chosen as the Country of Honour for the 2018 edition of Abu Dhabi Festival."