There is a possibility of a visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to participate at the shilanyas ceremony at the BAPS Abu Dhabi Hindu Temple when India is in the midst of the Lok Sabha Elections. However, veteran diplomats and commentators say it would be detrimental to the long-term India-UAE relationship.
Ambassador Rajiv Dogra cautioned against such a trip saying the PM’s participation in a shilanyas in the election season will throw up visuals that will be used in the elections.
Another veteran diplomat said the ‘Model Code of Conduct’ in place needs to be kept in mind during such an outreach by the political leadership of the current government.
Former ambassador M.K. Bhadrakumar also advised the government against it saying India should keep in mind its relationship with Iran and described Tehran as a ‘genuine ally against terrorism’.
Bhadrakumar said Israel, UAE and Saudi Arabia have a mixed record for fighting terrorism. He said “It is Iran that is closest to use in the cause of fighting terrorism.” He said India should never dilute ties with Iran by getting too close to the Gulf Arabs.