Prime Minister Narendra Modi's forthcoming three-nation visit to Palestine, the UAE and Oman (February 10 to 12) will have a sprinkling of religion, with a visit to both a mosque and a Shiva temple in Oman on the schedule.
Modi will also lay the foundation stone of a Hindu temple during the UAE leg of his tour. This temple will come up in a large swathe of land between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which the UAE government has reserved for the Indian Hindu community, following requests for a place of worship. The Gulf has nine million Indians, many of them Hindus.
Elaborating on the visit, joint secretary (Gulf) Mridul Kumar said that in 2015, when the prime minister visited Dubai, the Indian community had made the request for a temple, to which the UAE government had been very supportive. There is already a gurudwara in the UAE. The temple's foundation stone will be laid through a video link during the PM's interaction with the Indian community in Dubai.
Modi will also visit a Shiv temple in Oman. Kumar said that the temple was a 200-year-old structure, and its existence showed not just the extent of engagement with the country, but also how Indians of all faiths had been allowed freedom of practising their religion in Oman.
Modi will also visit the magnificient Sultan Qaboos grand mosque in Muscat. The mosque boasts of the longest single piece carpet in the world.