India

PM Modi urges UAE to invest in India

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, middle, takes a selfie next to Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, left, as they tour the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque during the first day of his two-day visit to the UAE, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Modi's trip to the country is the first by an Indian premier in 34 years

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged businessmen in the United Arab Emirates to invest in India on the concluding day of his visit to the country.

Mr Modi, who attended a meeting with prominent business leaders, said India had an "immediate investment opportunity of $1tn(£640bn)".

His trip to the country is the first by an Indian premier in 34 years.

He is expected to address tens of thousands of Indian expatriates before he leaves the country.

Mr Modi told industry leaders that India had huge investment opportunities in sectors like infrastructure, energy and real estate, the PTI news agency reported.

He also vowed to clear "cumbersome and complex processes" for doing business in the country, which he blamed on "legacy".

More than 2.5 million Indians - comprising a third of UAE's population - live in the federation.

Mr Modi is expected to speak to some 50,000 Indians at a cricket stadium in Dubai on Monday.

He will also hold talks with Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

On Sunday, he visited Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which he described as a symbol of "peace, piety, harmony and inclusiveness that are inherent to the faith of Islam".

Mr Modi also visited the grave of the UAE's founder Sheikh Zayed, who is buried in the mosque compound.

Dozens of Indians gathered at the gates of the mosque to catch a glimpse of the prime minister, who took a selfie with a minister outside the mosque and posted the picture on his Twitter account.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Modi visited Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque on Sunday

Mr Modi also visited a labour camp in Abu Dhabi in the wake of international calls to improve the working conditions of migrant labourers in Gulf countries.

Mohsko Ramu, a human resource assistant who has been working in the UAE for 15 years, said he told Mr Modi about how expensive it was for most workers to visit their families back home.

"They cannot afford to buy the air fare, even if they are going once a year or even once (every) two years," Mr Ramu told the Associated Press.

Mr Modi has said India is the UAE's second-largest trading partner and the UAE is India's third-largest trading partner behind the US and China.

Trade between India and the UAE reached $60bn (£38bn) last year.

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