“Bharat-UAE dosti zindabad,” says PM Modi at ‘Ahlan Modi’ event

Abu Dhabi, UAE: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Middle East’s first traditional stone-built Hindu temple on Wednesday.

Pink sandstone spires decorated with deities and the pious soar above what was once a barren patch of desert between Abu Dhabi and Dubai — now the site of the first stone-constructed Hindu temple in the Middle East.

Earlier, PM Modi spoke at the World Governments Summit in Dubai, hosted by the city-state’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum where he described his years in power as pushing for “minimum government, maximum governance.”

PM Modi’s personal touch on the trip, including embracing Emirati President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, seems aimed at further cementing ties with the UAE, an oil-rich country that supplies India’s energy needs while also serving as a home for some 3.5 million of his countrymen abroad. PM Modi at one point urged people to give Sheikh Mohammed a standing ovation at the event.

The trip to the BAPS Hindu Mandir just north of the city of Abu Dhabi capped PM Modi’s tour of the United Arab Emirates during which he embraced the UAE’s president, describing him as a brother and also spoke before global leaders at a Dubai summit.

“Today, the United Arab Emirates has written a golden chapter in human history,” PM Modi told the crowd at the BAPS temple. “A beautiful and divine temple is being inaugurated here. Many years of hard work have been involved behind this moment.”

The temple in Abu Mureikha was built by the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha or BAPS, a worldwide religious and civic organization within the Swaminarayan sect.

“Every part of the time that God has given me and the body that God has given me are all for Mother India,” PM Modi told the crowd gathered at the temple, drawing rapturous cheers. BAPS priest Brahmaviharidas Swami, who helped build the temple, made a point to repeatedly praise PM Modi’s work, calling him “the most beloved prime minister perhaps that India has ever had.”

Image courtesy of PIB

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