India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the project for the first Hindu temple to be built in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi.
The announcement of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) Temple was made last Friday.
PM Modi said via video conference that, “I believe this temple will not be only unique in terms of architecture and splendour, but will also give a message of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ to people across the world.”
The event was live streamed to the Dubai Opera House where PM Modi was communicating with the Gulf country’s Indian community.
He also thanked the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on behalf of all Indians for the construction of the temple.
The temple’s committee members had presented the Hindu literature to PM Modi and Prince bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Saturday evening in Abu Dhabi.
The temple, which will cover 55,000 square metres of land, will be hand-carved by Indian temple artisans and assembled in the UAE.
It will be completed by 2020 and will be the first traditional Hindu stone temple in the Middle East, a BAPS spokesperson said.
PM Modi, who made his first trip to the UAE after coming into office in 2015, thanked the Arab countries which provided a “home like environment” to almost 300,000 Indians who are living in the Gulf.
He said: “India’s jump in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Rankings from 142 to 100 is unprecedented. But we are not satisfied with this, we want to improve even more.
“We will do whatever it takes to achieve it. I assure you that we will work together to bring to reality the dreams you see, here and in India.”