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Modi likely to visit Abu Dhabi, Riyadh soon

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been reported to have planned a visit to West Asian countries to strengthen the cooperation with the oil-rich neighbours where he sees a lot of political and economic opportunities.

ABU DHABI: After the Central Asian visit and the forthcoming visit to the UK, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is reported to have plans to come to the Gulf which has the largest concentration of Indian expatriate workers who definitely have a sway on grass roots politics way back home. The Gulf region has around seven million Indians.

The proposed visit to Riyadh and Abu Dhabi in the West Asian region around October-November is also being seen as a profitable initiative in the context of the nuclear deal between Iran and the western countries which could have a massive impact on the economic equations in the region with the sanctions on Iran being lifted and that country's economy expected to surge ahead.

The itinerary would positively include Israel alongwith the UAE and Riyadh and it is likely to come through by October, it has been reported.

Modi had accepted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's invitation to visit Tehran at the BRICS summit. "India hopes to benefit from the successful conclusion of Iranian nuclear deal involving the US," ET had reported quoting government officials.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had visited the UAE and Bahrain last year, a huge trading partner for India. Besides, the Indian diaspora's remittances to India runs into several billions of dollars annually.

However, the employment opportunities in the region are dwindling, especially as new Saudi Arabian laws have forced large numbers of workers to return. In Kerala, it has provided the Congress an opportunity to seize the upper hand in domestic politics vis-a-vis their rehabilitation. The ruling BJP at the Centre has always been seen as a poor supporter of issues of expatriates in the Gulf.

Meanwhile, preparations are on for his visit to the UK in November. Anti-Indian forces taking roots in that country through illegal sources of funding and terrorism overall are likely to be major issues that will come up for talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

July 26, 2015

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