NEW DELHI: For the little over three minutes that Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan spoke on Wednesday, headsets at the stately Hyderabad House that provide translation of speeches in foreign languages, were silent. As the prince began to speak after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made his address, politicians and journalists present began to look around bewildered.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was seen pressing keys on the small remote control in the hope of landing on a channel where the Prince’s speech in Arabic was being translated. To no avail. No headphone, including PM Modi’s, had a translation on it.
Sources said the person assigned to translate the speech was stopped by security guards at the heavily guarded building for an extended search and could not make it to his desk in time. Presidents and Prime Ministers are hosted at Hyderabad House, in the heart of the capital.
The United Arab Emirates or UAE is an important partner for India and considerable effort has been made to welcome the Prince, who is the chief guest for this year’s Republic Day parade. Date palm trees have been planted all around central Delhi and roundabouts have been decorated with potted plants to replicate the experience of driving through an Arabian country.
The Prime Minister personally received the Prince at the airport and greeted him with a warm hug.
The two leaders held bilateral talks at PM Modi’s residence today followed by a joint statement at Hyderabad House. India and UAE have signed 13 agreements, including one on strategic cooperation.
In his speech, PM Modi recalled their earlier meetings in the last two years and said today’s discussions were wide ranging. PM Modi said that the UAE is a valued partner and that close ties between the two countries are important for the entire region and not just for them. He thanked the Crown Prince for allotting of land in Abu Dhabi for the construction of a temple.