Adding a New Dimension to UAE-India Relations

Raju Menon, Chairman and Managing Partner of Kreston Menon, reflects on the significance of the BAPS Hindu Mandir inauguration in Abu Dhabi, fostering spiritual tourism

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Published: Wed 14 Feb 2024, 12:04 PM

The UAE and India have enjoyed robust bilateral relations for decades, characterised by cooperation in various fields, and deep-rooted historical, cultural and economic ties.

The inauguration of the BAPS Swaminarayan Temple in Abu Dhabi is bound to further strengthen these ties. The opening of the mandir is a joyous occasion for the 3.5 million vibrant Indian community, which forms the largest expatriate group in the UAE.

As an Indian, I am grateful to our benevolent leader His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE for his kind gesture of donating the land for the temple and extending his generous support.Nothing gives us more joy than the temple being inaugurated by Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India.

Surge in Economic Ties

Last week, the Government of India ratified the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with the UAE which aims to boost bilateral trade and employment in products to $100 billion and services to $5 billion. Coupled with the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), BIT will drive stronger trust and economic cooperation.

Putting UAE on the Spiritual Tourism Map

As Pujya Swami Brahmaviharidas mentioned, the largest temple in the Middle East will serve as a ‘spiritual oasis for global harmony that celebrates the past and recalibrates the future’, this divine place will attract thousands of visitors from across the globe. This will result in the country securing a place on the global spiritual tourism map.

The temple will act as an impetus to the efforts of foreign diplomatic missions based in the UAE in promoting inbound tourism from their respective countries to the UAE.

It is a fact that India’s tourism sector is set for a boom as more tourists will be arriving in the country to visit various pilgrimage places including the recently inaugurated Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. Varanasi, Tirupathi and Amritsar have already established their place as leading global pilgrimage centres.

The strategic location of UAE, nestled between Europe, Africa and Asia makes it a natural transit point for international flights, acting as a hub for many international travellers to India. The millions of expatriate Indian and foreign tourists who are on their way to India for religious visits will want to stopover in the UAE to visit the BAPS Hindu Mandir.

Symbol of Harmony

The BAPS Hindu Mandir stands as a shining example of tolerance, harmony, and friendship between the two countries and the significance goes beyond religious boundaries, serving as a reminder of the shared values and aspirations that unite humanity.

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