PM Modi strikes a chord with expatriates in UAE

Abu Dhabi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi concluded his two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates in style by addressing a massive community reception in Dubai, where he not only lavished praise on the 2.6 million strong Indian community in the UAE but also called for a standing ovation for Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan for allotting land for a temple in Abu Dhabi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to expatriates in Dubai, said that the UAE has committed to invest Rs. 4.5 lakh crore in India.

“Those who are familiar with Abu Dhabi, will know what a gesture this is,” he said.

“Anyone who has been neglected for 34 years has every reason to feel angry with me, but the Crown Prince not only received me at the airport himself, but also brought along five of his brothers,” said the Prime Minister.

Tolerance of UAE
He praised the tolerance of the UAE, and told the crowd that it seemed that a “mini India” was before him. “Wherever there is an Indian, he is dear to me, I don’t look at the colour of the passport, but the colour of our blood,” he said to cheers.He distinguished between the Indian community in the Gulf compared to those in other countries.

“If it rains hard in India, umbrellas open up in Dubai. When Vajpayeeji’s government was facing economic sanctions after testing nuclear weapons, he asked Indians the world over for help, the blue collar Indian workers of the Gulf countries were the most generous,” he said.

The reception, which was the last event on the Prime Minister’s packed trip, came on the back of a strong joint statement against terrorism and security cooperation which also featured largely in the speech.

“There is no good Taliban or bad Taliban,” he said, and pointed out to the fact that the joint statement was against all states who, supported terror, in the name of religion or otherwise, an obvious allusion to Pakistan. “Samajhne waale samajh jaayenge (those who are smart will understand who I’m referring to).”

He said the UAE had committed to invest Rs. 4.5 lakh crore, and that it was time that India encashed its demographic dividend. He then went on to talk about his efforts to play his part in making SAARC a cohesive unit, being the first Premier in 17 years to visit Nepal, and supply of water to the Maldives during a recent crisis there.

Jam-packed stadium
The jam-packed stadium frequently erupted in applause and slogans of “Modi, Modi” with people from even nearby Gulf countries like Bahrain making it to the meeting. Anoop Varghese, author and project manager who works at Siemens in Dubai, said it was his dream to see an Indian PM visit the UAE.

“I had written to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as well, and for a time there was talk that he would visit, but he ended up going to Saudi Arabia instead,” he said. “Now that a Prime Minister is visiting, there was no way I wouldn’t have made it to the programme,” he added. Manohar and Rajani Nanwani from Kanpur and long-time residents of Dubai, said the desire to see “our Prime Minister” had made them come to the programme.