NEW DELHI: Students have been urged to spread the message of tolerance in the region during a high-profile meeting with a top diplomat.
The UAE Ambassador to India, Dr. Ahmed Al-Banna, on Monday stressed the importance of creating an atmosphere for peace during a major outreach program in New Delhi.
“The UAE has had a long-standing role in preventing and fighting acts of terrorism and radical organizations,” Al-Banna told journalists at the event. “We work very closely with all our partners from different countries in the region to make the region peaceful so that we can live together.”
The Emirati envoy was speaking at the first outreach session of its kind, being staged at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in New Delhi, where students from the leading engineering establishment asked a range of questions relating to the region and the world.
Al-Banna said that the UAE was a strong believer in “tolerance and acceptance,” and he highlighted the “important” role played by his country in easing a recent flare-up of military tensions between India and Pakistan over the disputed Kashmir province.
“On the day of the huge escalation, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed had a phone conversation with (Indian) Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. Our role was to sort out differences between the two sides in a peaceful manner through negotiation,” the UAE envoy added.
However, Al-Banna’s comment came as New Delhi denied any third-party involvement in helping to de-escalate the situation in the region.
The ambassador went on to highlight the growing ties between the UAE and India since the 1970s. “Both countries have accelerated their relationship to transform it from what used to be a buyer-seller relationship into a strategic partnership,” he said.
The value of trade between India and the UAE currently stands at around $50 billion, making India the UAE’s second-largest trading partner. The UAE is India’s third-largest trading partner after China and the US.
The Indian population in the UAE is 3.3 million, making it the largest concentration of Indian nationals outside of the South Asian country.
Last year the UAE declared 2019 the “year of tolerance” to strengthen the nation’s role of encouraging stability and prosperity in the region.