Outlining that India’s relationship with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) isn’t just of a buyer and seller, but that of a partnership, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the country’s growing ties with the Gulf countries as “deep, broad and vibrant.”
Modi was addressing the Indian diaspora at the packed Dubai Opera House on Sunday. He also unveiled the model of the first Hindu temple in the capital of the UAE, home to over three million people of Indian origin. He witnessed the groundbreaking ceremony which was live-streamed to the Dubai Opera House.
He thanked Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for the construction of the grand temple. “I believe this temple will not be only unique in terms of architecture and splendour, but will also give a message of ‘vasudhaiva kutumbakam’ to people across the world,” he said.
“India is proud of the fact that more than 30 lakh Indians are part of the development process of Gulf countries,” said Modi adding that a “small India” lives in the Gulf countries. He added that the Indian diaspora has also accepted the Gulf as its home.
Speaking of India’s growth and development, he said the country is changing at a rapid pace. “125 crore Indians are moving forward with self-belief. I ask one thing of you. The rulers here have upheld the Indian traditions. It is thus our responsibility to ensure we don’t make any mistakes on our part,” Modi said.
Talking about the four years of NDA governance at the Centre, Modi said that the government has helped fulfill the dreams of the common people. “We all have experienced days of disappointment, doubt and difficulty where we’ve felt nothing could work out. Earlier the common man would ask if something was possible. Today, within four years, we have changed that mentality and thinking. Today people ask, ‘Modi ji, tell us when it will happen’,” Modi said to a thunderous applause. He added that there was faith, not wonder, in that question.
The prime minister also brought up the jump in rankings in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business. “In 2014, India was placed 142 in the Ease of Doing Business rankings. It was easier to spot us if we started from below. Today, we are ranked 100. India’s leap in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings from 142 to 100 is unprecedented. But we are not satisfied at this, we want to do better. We will do whatever it takes to make it possible,” said Modi to the crowds. He also claimed no other country had ever improved its rankings as fast as India.
Speaking of demonetisation and GST, Modi said that even the poor appreciated the move. “When demonetisation took place, even the poor understood that it was a tough step in the right direction. Those who were disturbed by it are crying even two years later,” he said.
Modi ended his address saying, “We will fulfill the dreams that you dream, the dreams the people in India dream. I guarantee you that.”
Modi is visiting the United Arab Emirates for the second time after his 2015 trip to the country. He arrived in Abu Dhabi from Jordan on the second leg of his three-nation tour, and was received by Mohammed Bin Zayed and other members of the Royal family at the airport.
After their talks, the two sides signed five agreements related to energy sector, railways, workforce and financial services.
An MoU between Indian Consortium (OVL, BPRL & IOCL) and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) was signed for the acquisition of a 10 percent participating interest in the Abu Dhabi’s offshore Lower Zakum Concession, a statement issued by the Indian embassy said.
Modi will also deliver a keynote address at the World Government Summit in Dubai where India is a guest of honour this year. He will make inaugural address on the theme: ‘Technology for development’. From the UAE, Modi will travel to Oman.