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On relations between India and the UAE, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that in the last 10 years, the perception of India has changed to quite an extent in the Gulf country.

Speaking at the South Gujarat Chamber of Commerce — Corporate Summit 2024 in Surat on Monday, Jaishankar said, “In the last 10 years, the perception about India has changed in the UAE. They signed a free trade agreement with us and today the trade with the UAE has reached about 80 billion dollars.”

“Our request to build a temple there has been accepted…PM Narendra Modi went to UAE in 2016 and the last PM to go to the UAE was Indira Gandhi and after her, no PM went there till 2016” he underlined.

The iconic BAPS Hindu Mandir, which is the first Hindu Temple in Abu Dhabi, was inaugurated on February 14 by Mahant Swami Maharaj in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the eminent Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence for the UAE, Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan.

Earlier in 2022, India and United Arab Emirates signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

CEPA was signed during a meeting between the Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal and UAE delegation led by Minister of Economy, Abdulla bin Touq Al-Marri and Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi.

Meanwhile, Jaishankar also underlined how India currently is in the top 5 economies and very soon we will be the third-largest economy in the world.

“Today we are in the top 5 economies and very soon we will be the third-largest economy in the world. You all know whose guarantee this is. We have full confidence that in the next 25 years, we will make India a USD30 trillion economy…” the EAM said.

He also spoke at length of the time when French President Emmanuel Macron visited India on Republic Day this year.

“When French President Emmanuel Macron visited India on Republic Day, I welcomed him at Jaipur airport. It was his first visit to Jaipur and he said I see that you have other airports besides the airports of big cities,” he said.

“I said Mr President, you should also know that in the last 10 years, 8-9 new airports are being built every year in this country. In 2014 there were 75 airports and today this number has doubled…” Jaishankar added.

The French President visited India as the chief guest at the 75th Republic Day celebrations on January 26. Macron was warmly greeted by President Droupadi Murmu and PM Narendra Modi upon arrival at Kartavya Path. French contingents marched alongside Indian forces during the parade.

The French President acknowledged the exceptional welcome and recalled the five years since his last state visit, expressing his pleasure at returning to India after the resounding success of India’s G20.

Macron recounted his visit to Jaipur, with Prime Minister Modi showcasing the symbolic moments that resonated with historical significance.

Moreover, India and France adopted a roadmap for the defence-industrial partnership during French President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit for Republic Day celebrations.