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Modi to become first PM to visit all five Central Asian countries in one go during his upcoming tour

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New Delhi: Prime Minister, Narendra Modi leaves on Monday on an eight-day tour that will take him to the five Central Asian countries of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and to Ufa in Russia where he will attend the BRICS and SCO back-to-back summits.

Modi will he the first Indian prime minister in recent times to visit all five Central Asian countries at one go.

Trade with the resource-rich region, in which China has made major inroads, stands at a paltry $1.6 billion.

Connectivity, especially through the proposed North-South Transport Corridor, will be on top of the talks agenda between Modi and the Central Asian leaders.

India will seek to boost energy cooperation and trade with the five nations, which were part of the erstwhile Soviet Union.

In Ufa, the summit of the five BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — come as the board of governors of the BRICS bank, called the New Development Bank, which will hold its first meet in on Tuesday. The bank’s president is India’s M.V. Kamath.

Writing about the visit on his Facebook page, Modi said his first stop will be Uzbekistan, where he will hold talks with President Islam Karimov and both sides would ink key agreements to strengthen cooperation.

Modi said he would be interacting with Indologists, students learning Hindi and members of the Indian community.

“It was in Tashkent that we lost one of our most popular and respected leaders, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri ji, who ignited our nation with the clarion call of ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’. I will be paying my tributes to this proud son of India during the visit,” Modi said.

In Kazakhstan, his next stop which he will visit on July 7-8, Modi said he will hold talks with President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, and Prime Minister, Karim Massimov.

“There will be delegation level talks with President Nazarbayev followed by the signing of documents and a joint press statement,” he said.

Modi said he looks forward to interacting with the youth of Kazakhstan at the Nazarbayev University.

He will also inaugurate the India-Kazakhstan Centre for Excellence in Information and Communication Technology at the L.N. Gumilev Eurasian National University and also join a wreath-laying ceremony and planting of sapling at the Monument of Defenders of Motherland.

Modi will then visit Ufa for the 7th BRICS Summit and SCO Summit.

He expressed hope that the BRICS summit would build on the ground covered during the last summit in Fortaleza, Brazil.

“I expect positive outcomes in economic cooperation and cultural ties among the BRICS nations.”

Modi said he will be meeting the leaders – Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, China’s Xi Jinping, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and South Africa’s Jacob Zuma – individually too, apart from at Ufa, and also will be meeting business leaders.

At the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit, India is an observer but is hoping to be included as a permanent member.

He flies to Turkmenistan on July 11 — in the first visit by an Indian prime minister since P.V. Narasimha Rao in 1995.

Modi said he will hold talks with President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, which would be followed by signing of agreements and a meeting with the press.

Areas for boosting ties include tourism, fertilizers, space, science and technology and defence.

“Our bilateral trade is way below its potential and I am confident we can improve it,” Modi said.

He will also inaugurate a statue of Mahatma Gandhi and a Traditional Medicine and Yoga Centre and also lay wreath at the mausoleum of the first president.

His next visit on July 12 would be to Kyrgyzstan, in the first prime ministerial visit in the last 20 years.

Modi would hold talks with President Almazbek Atambaye and also meet Prime Minister Semir Tariyev and Speaker of the Parliament Asylbek Jeenbekov.

India is gifting medical equipment to Kyrgyz Field Hospital.

Modi will inaugurate tele-medicine links, which shall promote medical tourism from Kyrgyzstan to India. A statue of Mahatma Gandhi will also be unveiled.

“I will have the opportunity to visit the Kyrgyz-India Mountain Biomedical Research Centre and join the Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Victory Monument in Bishkek,” he said.

On Tajikistan, his last stop, Modi said the last prime ministerial visit from India was by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in November 2003.

He said India and Tajikistan have a strategic partnership and very strong defence cooperation, but economic cooperation has been limited and the scope of growth was immense. Bilateral trade has huge potential.

“My visit will build on the existing strong diplomatic and defence ties and script a fresh chapter in our economic ties. I look forward to meeting President Emomali Rahmon. Key agreements will also be signed after our meeting. I will gifting medicines for the India-Tajikistan Friendship Hospital,” he said.

A statue of Rabindranath Tagore will also be unveiled in Dushanbe. (IANS)

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Modi to lay foundation stone for Abu Dhabi’s first Indian temple

The temple compound will include a visitors' centre, prayer halls, exhibition centre, learning areas, sports area for children and youths, thematic gardens, water features, a food court, books and gift shop and other facilities

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will also hold a meeting there with the Indian community. Wikimedia Commons
will also hold a meeting there with the Indian community. Wikimedia Commons
  • This is Modi’s second visit to the UAE after August 2015
  • Modi was scheduled to arrive here in the evening
  • The temple’s construction will be completed by 2020, and open to people of all religious backgrounds

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Sunday laid the foundation stone for the first Hindu temple in the United Arab Emirates’ capital, which is home to a huge Indian diaspora.

This is Modi’s second visit to the UAE after August 2015. He was scheduled to arrive here in the evening.

“The first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi will come up on 55,000 square metres of land and the groundbreaking ceremony on Sunday will be a historic event,” said Indian Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri.

The Indian leader will be laying the foundation stone for the temple from the Dubai Opera House via video conferencing. He will also hold a meeting there with the Indian community.

“The occasion is going to be historic… because it will also see the commencement of the first Hindu Temple in Abu Dhabi. We are very pleased that we have received 55,000 square metres of land near Al Rahba off the Dubai-Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Highway,” said Suri.

The temple’s construction will be completed by 2020, and open to people of all religious backgrounds.

It will be the first traditional Hindu stone temple in the Middle East, said a spokesperson from the BAPS Swaminarayanan Sanstha that is entrusted with the design, construction and management of the temple.

Also Read: Kerala Tourism to organise promotion event in Abu Dhabi to attract cash-rich Arab travellers

The temple will be hand-carved by Indian temple artisans and assembled in the UAE, said the BAPS spokesperson.

The UAE has two Hindu temples which are located in Dubai. Devotees from Abu Dhabi and other emirates have to drive to Dubai for prayers and offerings.

The temple compound will include a visitors’ centre, prayer halls, exhibition centre, learning areas, sports area for children and youths, thematic gardens, water features, a food court, books and gift shop and other facilities.

Sadhu Brahmaviharidas, the chief spokesperson of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, said the generous gift of land for a Hindu temple by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, “was a strong and sound message to the world that cultural and spiritual inclusiveness is the way forward for global harmony”.

It will replicate the BAPS temple in New Delhi and the one under construction in New Jersey, a trust member told the Khaleej Times.

BAPS manages 1,200 temples in India, UK, the US, Australia, Canada and Africa.

Also Read: Abu Dhabi keeps the Smart City dream alive

Meanwhile, the UAE’s iconic buildings like the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Frame, Adnoc building and the Emirates Palace were lit up in colours of India’s flag ahead of Modi’s visit to the country.

Modi’s high-level engagements here include bilateral meetings with top UAE leaders and a keynote address at the World Government Summit in Dubai on Sunday, in which India is the guest country.

Earlier in the day, Modi was in Ramallah where he received a rousing welcome on the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Palestine. (IANS)