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NEW DELHI: In the 1971 India-Pakistan war, the United Arab Emirates supported Pakistan. In fact, Iran and Turkey even supplied planes to Pakistan in that war.
But Islamic terrorism, for which Pakistan has become the breeding ground thanks to the policies of the late Zia ul-Haq, has changed it all as India and the UAE have entered into a strategic relationship.
Now, UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was the chief guest for India’s Republic Day parade today. And Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke protocol to receive the Prince at the airport and give him a big hug.
Interestingly, the UAE crown prince even paid respects to Mahatma Gandhi at his samadhi in Delhi. But the King of Saudi Arabia, who was also the chief guest at India’s Republic Day a few years ago, had refused to pay respects to Gandhi’s samadhi as it went against his Islamic faith.
The UAE is getting closer to India for obvious reasons.
First, the UAE fears Islamic terrorism originating from Pakistan. That’s why in August in 2015 when Modi visited the UAE, the two countries jointly condemned efforts to use terrorism as instrument of state policy.
For the UAE, India is a much bigger market than Pakistan. Also, the UAE has Indian workers number 2.6 million as of now. These workers send about $14 billion back home in India each year.