PM Modi meets the UAE President: Who is Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan?

On his one-day trip to the UAE, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with President Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi and had extensive discussions with him on Saturday, July 15. Modi claimed in his remarks made following the meeting that Sheikh Mohamed always treated him with the love of a brother.”You have significantly influenced how our nations’ ties have grown, and I thank you for that. The Indian Prime Minister reportedly said to the president of the UAE, “Everyone in India regards you as a true friend.After the passing of his half-brother Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, who ruled the United Arab Emirates for nearly two decades, Sheikh Mohamed, also known by his initials MBZ, was elected president of the West Asian country in May 2022. Sheikh Mohamed, often regarded as the most powerful leader in the Arab world, is renowned for his open-mindedness, attitude, and aspirations to establish the United Arab Emirates as a key geopolitical force in the area.MBZ received his education in the United Arab Emirates and at the military officers’ academy at Sandhurst in the United Kingdom. Initially, he worked a variety of posts in the UAE military before switching to the UAE Air Force as a pilot. However, his political career began when his father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the country’s first President and the country’s founder, named him the nation’s deputy crown prince in 2003.But once his father passed away, MBZ was elevated to the position of Crown Prince, and his half-brother was given the top position. But Sheikh Mohamed quickly rose to prominence as the UAE’s most powerful leader. Sheikh Khalifa had a stroke in 2014, which worsened his already precarious health, and MBZ became the country’s de facto leader.According to a report by Al Jazeera, Sheikh Mohamed is credited with turning his nation’s military into a high-tech force that “combined with its oil wealth and business hub status, extended Emirati influence internationally.”He enlisted former American military personnel and spies to support the UAE’s military operations and the establishment of intelligence services. The New York Times said that MBZ, on the help of former American generals, established a domestic Emirati military sector that exports Emirati-made armoured vehicles to customers in Libya and Egypt.The UAE deployed its special forces in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Somalia, and Libya and fought alongside American forces against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. More significantly, Sheikh Mohamed developed strong ties with the US by offering up the services of his nation and its armed forces to support Western countries’ military endeavours in the region. Additionally, MBZ spent a lot of money on American weapons and lobbyists to help him advance his agenda in the US.Sheikh Mohamed was not, however, forced to comply with Washington’s requests as a result. When it comes to advancing the interests of either himself or his country, he has never hesitated to take unilateral action. Despite pressure from the US, the UAE chose not to participate in a UN Security Council resolution denouncing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. According to a New York Times report from 2022, the West Asian nation is now a “refuge for fleeing Russian oligarchs and their money.”MBZ has promoted a balanced relationship with Saudi Arabia, much like it has with the US. He assisted the ascent to power of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, worked alongside the Saudis to lead a military intervention in Yemen, and has continued to be one of Iran’s primary adversaries.The UAE’s ties to India have become stronger under Sheikh Mohamed’s direction. While MBZ was invited to India as the Chief Guest of the Republic Day celebrations the next year despite not being a Head of State or Head of Government at the time, Modi made history in 2015 by being the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the UAE in 34 years.Notably, commerce between the two nations increased from $50 billion in 2015–16 to $85 billion in 2022–2023; this makes the UAE India’s second-largest export market and third-largest trading partner for the year.After arriving in the country on Saturday, Modi had extensive talks with Sheikh Mohamed. During these talks, the two leaders praised their economic ties and expressed optimism that they would reach their goal of $100 billion in trade before the G-20 summit in Delhi in September.

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