9.Diaspora high on agenda of Prime Ministers’s UAE visit
That is, however, only one part of the story. As Arif, the manager of a grocery store at the camp, says: “It will be good to see an Indian Prime Minister meet real NRIs of the Gulf, with their real problems.” Migrants live six or seven to a room and eat in company-run messes.
The excitement at the camp is palpable, with even those not in the chosen 300 joining in. “Actually, I was told by my Bangladeshi colleague that Prime Minister Modi would be visiting, there is a lot of excitement here,” Mr. Arif says.
Official sources describe Mr. Modi’s visit to the camp as an acknowledgement not just of the diaspora but also of the UAE as host country. “This is the Prime Minister’s first visit to the region, and he has picked the UAE mainly for this reason,” an External Affairs Ministry official said.
First on the Prime Minister’s itinerary is a visit to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, which is being looked at as a nod to the Muslim population of India. But official sources said it was to pay homage to the former ruler of the Emirate, Sheikh Zayed, rather than a domestic political statement.
China and Russia are stepping up their military collaboration by holding another round of naval exercises, this time in the Sea of Japan, following recent measures adopted by Tokyo that could deepen its military ties with Washington.
On Saturday, the Chinese navy dispatched seven Chinese warships for the Sea of Japan. They will join the Russian Navy’s 16 surface ships, two submarines, 12 naval aircraft, nine amphibious vehicles and 200 marines.
The drills are an extension of Joint Sea-2015 (I), another naval exercise that the two countries had held in May in the Mediterranean Sea, on the doorstep of Europe, and in the backdrop of the crisis in Ukraine. The nine-day manoeuvres under Joint Sea-2015 (II) will simulate anti-submarine combat, evident from the presence of the two Russian submarines, air defence and other related missions.
The presence of the 200 marines, which each side will field, underscores the decision by the two forces to stage a joint beach landing, an intent that has grabbed attention on account of several island disputes in the Pacific.
The contingent, which also includes two landing craft and 21 units of amphibious equipment essential for a beach landing, will arrive at the Russian port of Vladivostok on August 20.
Apart from the Sea of Japan, these drills will also take place in the Peter the Great Gulf and waters off the Clerk Cape.
The Chinese Defence Ministry had earlier stated that the exercise is meant to “bolster the comprehensive strategic cooperation and partnership between Russia and China, and to increase the military capabilities of both countries to counter maritime threats.”
The Joint Sea-2015 (II) is being timed with the growing militarisation of the Pacific under President Barack Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” doctrine, which empowers the U.S. Pacific Command to draw nearly two-thirds of all American forces under its wing.
In tandem, Japan is taking legal measures that could detach Tokyo from its post-war pacifism, and, instead, allow it join forces with the U.S. in operations that do not necessarily pose a direct threat.
The curtains came down by Saturday night on the dramatic spectacle around holding India-Pakistan talks, less than a day before Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz was due to land in New Delhi, with bitter accusations and acrimony marking the exchanges.