Narendra Modi and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Narendra Modi greets Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan at an air force base in New Delhi on 10 FebruaryGetty

The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has welcomed the Prince of Abu Dhabi to India. In a post on Twitter, the prime minister's office said that Modi had given Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan a "special welcome for a special friend", stepping out of protocol to welcome the Prince at New Delhi airport on 10 February.

The visit marks Sheikh Al Nahyan's first state visit to the country, during which discussions are due to take place to enhance energy, economy and security ties between India and the United Arab Emirates. A number of agreements are also expected to be signed in areas such as oil, nuclear energy, aerospace, railways and electronics.

"This is the Sheikh Mohammed's first state visit to India and I am glad he is visiting with his family," Modi said in a tweet. "[He] is a visionary leader. His visit will add new vigour and monument to comprehensive strategic partnership between India and UAE."

A number of images have been posted on the Modi's official Twitter account showing the two leaders at the Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential palace and during an official meeting at the PM's residence. Al Nahyan is already believed to have met the Minister of External Affairs for India, Sushma Swaraj. President Pranab Mukherjee is expected to host a private lunch for the UAE royal.

Local media reports have indicated that Modi and Al Nahyan are also expected to discuss ways to combat radicalisation and efforts to step up counterterrorism cooperation between the two countries, particularly in regards to fighting the Islamic State (Isis/Daesh).

Al Nahyan said: "Bilateral relations between the UAE and India are strong and we are keen on strengthening our strategic partnership. India-UAE relations are underpinned by cultural roots that go beyond already-strong political and economic ties."

With the economy of the UAE having been hit by falling crude oil prices, it is expected that Al Nahyan could suggest a heavy investment in India's energy and infrastructure sectors. India has been eyeing the UAE's sovereign wealth fund of $800bn for its railways, ports and roads.