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The reclusive Emir: UAE President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan


United Arab Emirates (UAE) President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan died today at 73. According to the constitution, Vice-President and Premier, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum – the ruler of Dubai, will act as President until the federal council elects a new president within 30 days.

“Ministry of Presidential Affairs declares official mourning and flags flying at half-mast for 40 days starting today and disrupting work at the ministries, federal departments, local institutions and the private sector for three days,” said a statement.

WHO WAS SHEIKH KHALIFA BIN ZAYED

Khalifa, born in 1948 in eastern of Abu Dhabi, completed his graduation at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He has been married to Her Highness Sheikha Shamsa bint Suhail Al Mazrouei and they have eight children.

He succeeded his father as the 16th Emir of Abu Dhabi on November 2, 2004, and the presidency of the United Arab Emirates the following day.

He was also the supreme commander of theUnited Arab Emirates Armed Forces between 2004 and 2022 and acted as the chairman of the Supreme Petroleum Council from the late 1980s.

Since the late 1990s, Khalifa began carrying out aspects of the presidency in a de-facto capacity after his father Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan took ill.

In his honour, the world’s tallest building Burj Dubai was renamed Burj Khalifa after he bailed out a debt-laden Dubai, following the 2009 economic crisis.

In 2011, Khalifa supported the military intervention in Libya by sending his forces to the mission. He also supported the Bahraini regime during the pro-democracy uprising in 2011.

Ranked the world’s fourth-wealthiest monarch, Khalifa suffered a stroke in 2014.

INDIA-UAE TIES DURING KHALIFA’S TENURE

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s August 2015 UAE visit marked a comprehensive and strategic partnership between the two countries.

In 2018, a pact was signed between the two countries on technical cooperation in the rail sector. On August 18, 2018, PM Modi termed Khalifa’s humanitarian support to those affected by the Kerala floods a reflection on the special ties between governments and people of India and UAE.

In April 2019, the UAE accorded PM Modi with the Zayed Medal, the highest civilian award granted by its government.

PM Modi received the honour in appreciation of his efforts in maintaining strategic ties with the UAE.

On August 6, 2019, the UAE backed India’s decision to pursue the passage of the 2019 Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill.

In August 2021, the UAE and India signed an agreement under which faculty members of Indian universities will spend six to 10 months every year to take part in research and teaching social sciences in Abu Dhabi.

Indians now constitute the largest minority ethnic group in the UAE, accounting for roughly 38% of UAE’s total residents and is the UAE’s largest exports destination and trading partner with bilateral trade turnover of $68.4 billion in 2021.



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