Abu Dhabi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday began his two-day trip to the UAE by visiting the historic Sheikh Zayed Grand mosque, the world’s third largest, and later met Indian workers there.
After his arrival, Modi, on first public engagement here, visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a key place of worship in the UAE and known as a masterpiece of Islamic architecture and described it as a fine example of human achievement and unity.
The Prime Minister, wearing a kurta with a cream and red stole, spent about 40 minutes at the mosque, built at an estimated cost of $545 million, evincing interest at the imposing 82 domes in seven sizes located inside the worshipping place.
He was given a guided tour by minister in waiting for foreign affairs.
“I am delighted to visit this magnificent place of worship, strikes with its size and beauty. It brings together requisite skills and creation from around the world and serves as a fine example of human achievement and unity. I am confident that it will be a symbol of peace, piety, harmony and inclusiveness that are inherent to the faith of Islam,” PM Modi wrote on the visitor’s book.
“It will also serve to remind generations about the extraordinary vision of the late president of UAE his highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan,” he wrote.
UAE culture minister Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan and minister of state for foreign affairs Dr Anwar Gargash were present at the mosque and Modi took a selfie with them.
Many Indians had come to see Modi at the mosque.
The mosque is third largest in the world after the ones in Mecca and Madina in Saudi Arabia. It is considered to be the largest example of marble mosaic in the world.
Later, PM Modi interacted with Indian workers at their camps I-CAD to know the problems they face and discussed ways Indian government can help them.
The I-CAD Residential Labour Camp houses thousands of migrant labourers from the Indian subcontinent in an area spread over one square kilometre.
About 2.6 million Indians constitute nearly 30 per cent of the population of this country.
Notably, a large portion of the 2.6 million Indians in the UAE are from Bihar and many are Muslims.
The first Indian Prime Minister to visit the UAE in 34 years, PM Modi was earlier today received by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi along with his five brothers at the airport, in a departure from protocol. The last dignitary to be received by him was the King of Morocco in May this year.
Marvelling at the UAE’s spectacular achievements, Modi said, “I have always thought, how this paradise could come up in a desert? What vision! What remarkable skill!”