| APJ Abdul Kalam being greeted by Crown Prince Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan at Abu Dhabi International Airport. (PTI)
Abu Dhabi, Oct. 19: President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam today played the perfect diplomat to hardsell India and slipped in a message on terrorism with a concealed punch to Pakistan.
He started off the second day of his three-day tour of the United Arab Emirates by emphasising India’s economic strengths and their role in transforming bilateral relations.
India’s “core competence” in knowledge-based, high-technology areas and the UAE’s strengths in oil and allied financial sectors were an ideal launching pad, he said.
There was no hint of the message to come when Kalam suggested specific areas for collaboration, in front of the entire Emirates leadership, at a banquet hosted in his honour by Crown Prince Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
He offered India’s assistance in solar energy generation because the Emirates, he said, cannot forever depend on oil as the energy base for desalination to meet its ever growing requirement of drinking water.
Kalam emphasised the scope for forging mutually beneficial ties by spelling out emerging similarities in both countries’ developmental priorities.
Kalam suggested setting up a joint cyber university and offered help in “digitising” the Emirates’ information set-up.
Then came the touch of diplomacy as he traced the logic for the hardsell to the need for both countries to come closer, politic ally and diplomatically, by focusing on development.
“Development and peace cannot be separated from one another,” Kalam said, as he first broached politics.
Without once directly mentioning Pakistan or terrorism or the need for a joint fight against the menace, he sent a message by “thanking” the Emirates leadership for extraditing to India 12 fugitives involved in terrorist activities in the country.
He pointedly recalled how the two countries have come closer by starting a structured political dialogue.
Earlier, the President made good use of his scientific credentials to get former colleagues to help his presentation along.
Gopalswamy, a scientist who has worked on solar energy for four decades, made a presentation on the subject.
Disinvestment and IT minister Arun Shourie said the UAE has already recognised the emergence of India as a big global player in becoming a “generator of knowledge”.