It has been announced during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates that Abu Dhabi is set to open its first Hindu temple.
Prime Minister Modi, who is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the UAE in over three decades, expressed his gratitude to the UAE government in a tweet on his official Twitter page on Sunday, calling the decision "a great step."
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
Although Dubai already has two Hindu temples as well as a Sikh Gurudwara, Abu Dhabi is yet to provide a place of worship for the country’s Hindu population.
India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup also hailed the move, saying in a tweet, “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.”
“PM @narendramodi thanks UAE leadership for this landmark decision,” he added.
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
Prime Minister Modi met with Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashied Al Maktoum during his visit to the UAE, which is India’s third biggest trading partner, with trade between the countries reaching $60 billion in 2014.
Approximately 2.6 million Indian expatriates live in the UAE from which they send remittances worth around $14 billion each year.
According to Al Jazeera, a source cited in 2013 in the Times of India claimed a Muslim businessman had donated five acres of land to build a Hindu temple in the city after Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) - a worldwide religious and civic organisation within the Swaminarayan branch of Hinduism - was invited to the country by the Abu Dhabi Investment Company.
It is not clear, however, if Modi’s announcement on Sunday referred to the same land.