In a significant gesture, five brothers of the crown prince were also present at the Abu Dhabi Presidential Airport to receive Modi, according to tweets by external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup. "For Crown Prince and his five brothers to receive a dignitary is a rare gesture reflecting imp attached to PM's visit," tweeted Swarup.
The official Twitter account of news relating to the crown prince a@MBZNews tweeted: "Mohamed_bin_Zayed welcomes @narendramodi visit; reaffirms the strong, historic relations founded by Sheikh Zayed & maintained by Khalifa."
Modi is the first Indian prime minister to visit the UAE after the 1981 visit of then prime minister Indira Gandhi. According to WAM, the official news agency of the UAE, Modi was accorded a full red-carpet reception.
"Sheikh Mohamed escorted the Indian prime minister to the dais of honour where both, the UAE's and the Indian national anthem, were played and the military fired a 21-gun salute to Prime Minister Modi. "Prime Minister Modi inspected a guard of honour and then shook hands with a group of sheikhs, ministers and top officials who had come to greet him. In his turn, Sheikh Mohamed shook hands with the ministers and senior officials accompanying the Indian prime minister during his visit," WAM said.
Ahead of his visit, Modi said in an interview to Khaleej Times: "I want to see the UAE as our foremost trade and investment partner. We would build regular and effective cooperation in a full range of security challenges. Our armed forces would engage with each other more. "We will work together more closely in international forums and in addressing regional challenges. There are no limits to our relationship," he said. Modi described the UAE as a "Mini India" and vowed to build a "regular and effective cooperation in security challenges". The UAE is home to 2.6 million Indian expatriates.
Swarup told newspersons in Abu Dhabi: "The prime minister looks forward to meeting with the Indian diaspora and ascertaining their welfare; and the prime minister's visit to the region is very significant and will help promote all round cooperation between India and the UAE." Modi visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, and was later scheduled to visit a labour camp in the ICAD Residential City in the UAE capital. He is expected to address 300 workers for approximately 45 minutes, according to the Indian embassy.
On Monday, Modi will visit the sustainable Masdar City, a planned city project in Abu Dhabi, where he will address the UAE business community. Modi will attend a special lunch reception hosted by the Indian embassy at the Oberoi Hotel in Business Bay, where 25 top business community members will be in attendance. He will later travel to Dubai, where he will attend a grand public reception at the Dubai Cricket Grounds at 7.30 p.m., following which he will leave for India at 11 p.m.