Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s travel to the UAE and two other Arab nations, prominent Indians from different walks of life have paid glowing tributes to the Founding Father of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and his pioneering role in planting the seeds of UAE-India friendship.
Several plans are being prepared to celebrate the Year of Zayed in India and there is growing awareness here of the commemoration of Sheikh Zayed’s legacy.
Suresh Prabhu, India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, praised Sheikh Zayed’s vision which has transformed the UAE into a modern nation today. In a conversation with the Emirates News Agency, WAM, Prabhu described the bilateral relations between the UAE and India as the "best ever."
"They are realising Sheikh Zayed’s vision in the centenary year of his birth," he said. Prabhu, who was in Abu Dhabi less than a month ago for the fifth meeting of the UAE-India High Level Joint Task Force on Investments visited then a number of prestigious institutions in the emirate.
"Masdar is an outstanding example of new age technology being used and promoted in the UAE, reflecting the country’s vision for the future," the Indian Minister told a visiting group of journalists from the UAE. He said political and diplomatic relations between the two countries were excellent, and that his challenge as Commerce and Industry Minister is to extend the same excellence to economic relations.
Prabhu recently chaired a meeting in Kampala, Uganda with his counterparts from Japan and the UK to promote joint exports. "A similar partnership with the UAE for multilateral economic initiatives is being planned," he added.
Professor A.K.Pasha, Director of the Gulf Studies Programme at the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University, pointed to the UAE as the "most durable federation in the Arab world" and cited it in the Year of Zayed as the prime example of the vision of the Founding Father of the UAE.
He said hundreds of scholarships to students from Arab countries were being offered under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation, ITEC, programme and urged UAE students to avail themselves of these scholarships to study at universities in India.
Pasha expressed the hope that, with UAE emerging as a hub for education, courses on Indian studies would be offered in these institutions, reflecting the growing synergy between the UAE and India.
Pasha has written or edited 15 books on India and the Gulf with one more forthcoming. He headed the Indian government’s Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture in Cairo. He said that he hoped that a similar centre to promote UAE culture in India would be set up as part of expanding cultural agreements between the two countries.