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UAE govt allots land for temple in Abu Dhabi, PM Modi terms it ‘landmark decision’

Abu Dhabi: In a landmark decision, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here on a two-day state visit, the United Arab Emirates on Sunday decided to allot land for building a temple in Abu Dhabi for the Indian community,
“A long wait for the Indian community ends. On the occasion of PM`s visit, UAE Govt decides to allot land for building a temple in Abu Dhabi,” tweeted external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup.

A long wait for the Indian community ends. On the occasion of PM’s visit, UAE Govt decides to allot land for buildng a temple in Abu Dhabi

— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) August 16, 2015
“PM @narendramodi thanks UAE leadership for this landmark decision,” he said.

I am very thankful to the UAE Govt for their decision to allot land in order to build a Temple in Abu Dhabi. This is a great step.

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 16, 2015
The UAE is home to 2.6 million Indian workers, of who around 20 percent are white-collar professionals. Indian expatriates comprise 30 percent of the UAE`s population and are the largest nationality group.

Earlier, 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.

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 USD 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.

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.

The mosque can accommodate around 40,000 people. The mosque was constructed from 1996 to 2007. It is named after the founder and first President of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Modi also visited the tomb of Shaikh Zayed.

The first Indian Prime Minister to visit the UAE in 34 years, Modi was earlier 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.

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