More than 30,000 register to see India Prime Minister Modi in Abu Dhabi next month

Community-led cultural event Ahlan Modi to be held at Zayed Sports City stadium on February 13

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also attend the World Government Summit in Dubai during his visit to the UAE. AFP
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Tens of thousands of Indian citizens living in the UAE have signed up to see India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Zayed Sports City stadium in Abu Dhabi in February.

They have registered for the Ahlan Modi community summit, organised by Indians in the UAE with the support of their country's embassy in the Emirates.

More than 30,000 people have registered for the evening function on February 13, organisers said.

It matches the desire of the largest Indian community to hear and see the Prime Minister
Sunjay Sudhir, India’s ambassador to the UAE

Mr Modi will visit the UAE for two days to take part in the World Government Summit in Dubai on February 13, address the community that evening at the Abu Dhabi stadium and inaugurate the capital’s first Hindu temple on February 14.

“There is so much yearning in the community to see the prime minister,” Sunjay Sudhir, India’s ambassador to the UAE, told The National.

“The last time it was in Dubai and so this time it will be in Abu Dhabi at the Zayed Sports City stadium that can accommodate tens of thousands of people.

“The last time the Prime Minister did a community event in the UAE was in 2018 so it’s time we do it again.

“It matches the desire of the largest Indian community to hear and see the Prime Minister.”

Indians overseas

About 3.55 million Indian citizens live in the UAE, making it the most popular destination for Indians seeking work abroad, according to figures released last year by India's External Affairs Minister, V Muraleedharan.

Mr Modi has visited the UAE several times since he took office in 2014. He last addressed the Indian community at the Dubai Opera house in February 2018 and watched a live telecast of the foundation ceremony of the Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi.

More than 40,000 people gathered to hear Mr Modi speak at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in August 2015. It was the first visit by an Indian prime minister to the UAE in 34 years.

Mr Modi has often addressed massive gatherings of Indians around the world, from the first event in New York in September 2014 and in Sydney in May 2023.

“If you see the community events, starting from Madison Square Garden in 2014 or the Sydney event last year, people flock to listen to the Prime Minister and we expect the same here,” Mr Sudhir said. “It conveys the connection the Prime Minister has with the people.”


Many Indians in the UAE contacted Mr Modi’s office when they learnt he would be in Abu Dhabi for the temple inauguration.

“We thought it would be a great opportunity because he is here for the Prana Prathishta [consecration of a Hindu temple], so we requested some time for a community event,” said Nishi Singh, communication director of the Ahlan Modi organising committee.

“We have so many community organisations on board because people will be coming all the way from Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah to Abu Dhabi to hear the PM speak.”

About 700 Indian cultural groups will perform for about 90 minutes before Mr Modi speaks. “One thing we were very clear about is that it’s a community-driven programme so we are not getting any celebrities from outside,” said Ms Singh, who has lived in the UAE for more than three decades.

“It will be local talent, … sourced from the Indian community for a cultural extravaganza.”

She said dozens of regional volunteer groups were being mobilised for the February event. “Arrangements are being made so young families with children and seniors are also welcome,” she said. “The PM is known for his oratory skills, he knows how to hold people. They just want to come to hear him speak.”

Historic ties

The February visit comes amid deepening ties between the UAE and India. Co-operation between the nations has strengthened over the past decade with frequent visits by leaders and major trade agreements signed.

President Sheikh Mohamed recently attended a global business summit in India’s Gujarat state.

The UAE and India in January signed initial agreements to expand bilateral investments in renewable energy, food processing and the healthcare sectors.

“Everybody has been witness to this rapid strengthening of relations in last 10 years and this is driven directly by the leadership on both sides,” Mr Sudhir said. “And historically, the community has been a staunch pillar of our relationship, along with trade and investment.”

Registrations for the February 13 event are still open at

Abu Dhabi's Hindu temple - in pictures

Updated: January 25, 2024, 1:27 PM