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India-UAE scripting history together, PM Modi tells diaspora

By, New Delhi
Feb 14, 2024 02:39 AM IST

Agreements signed by the two countries on Tuesday will integrate their financial systems and strengthen the technology and innovation partnership.

India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are scripting a new history, partnering in areas such as fintech and innovation to build on a relationship that dates back thousands of years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the 'Ahlan Modi' programme, in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on Tuesday. (PTI)

The premier’s speech at “Ahlan Modi” (Welcome Modi), an event at Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi that brought together about 60,000 people, was peppered with praise for UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for taking care of the 3.5-million expatriate community and strengthening bilateral ties.

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Such community events have become a feature of Modi’s foreign visits and he used the occasion to focus on the strong strategic partnership between India and the UAE and the Indian community’s role in bringing the two sides closer and boosting the development of the emirates.

India and the UAE are together scripting a new history for the 21st century and you are part of the strong base for this history along with me. Your hard work here is giving India energy. You should keep making the progress and friendship of India and the UAE stronger,” Modi told the gathering comprising mostly Indian nationals, speaking in Hindi.

He also spoke some lines in Arabic, Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu during the course of his address.

India and the UAE are partners in each other’s progress, and relations were strengthened by joint work in talent, innovation and culture. The UAE is India’s third largest trade partner and seventh largest investor, and both sides are closely cooperating to improve the ease of living and ease of doing business, he said.

Agreements signed by the two countries on Tuesday will integrate their financial systems and strengthen the technology and innovation partnership. India shared its RuPay card stack to help develop the UAE’s domestic card system named Jaywan, and India’s Unified Payment Interface (UPI) will start functioning soon in the emirates, facilitating seamless payments between accounts in both countries. “You can easily send money to your family members in India,” Modi said.

Modi repeatedly referred to the UAE president as “my brother Mohamed bin Zayed” and recalled how the ruler had personally welcomed him on his first visit to the emirates in 2015 and again this week. Noting that this was seventh visit to the UAE in about a decade, he said: “I am happy that we too could welcome [Mohamed bin Zayed] four times in India. When he recently visited Gujarat, hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the roads to welcome him.”

He expressed his gratitude to Mohamed bin Zayed for looking after the Indian expatriate community in UAE and protecting their interests. “Whenever brother Mohamed bin Zayed meets me, he always praises all Indians and your role in the development of the UAE,” he said.

“The leaders of the emirates have given Indians a place in their hearts in happiness and sadness, and this has helped make the relationship stronger,” Modi said, recalling Mohamed bin Zayed’s role in arranging treatment and vaccines for Indians during the Covid-19 pandemics.

In this context, Modi said he could feel Mohamed bin Zayed’s love for Indians when he immediately agreed to the Indian leader’s proposal in 2015 to build a Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi. “He said I will give the land you seek and now the historic time has come for the inauguration of the temple in Abu Dhabi,” he said, referring to the scheduled opening of BAPS Mandir on Wednesday.

Modi spoke a few lines in Arabic to highlight common words used by the people of both countries, which had come to India from the Gulf and reflected ties dating back thousands of years. He said initiatives such as the launch of the master’s course at the IIT-Delhi campus in the UAE and the planned opening of a CBSE office in Dubai will ensure the Indian community gets the best education.

At the same time, Modi highlighted the achievements of his government and plans to make India a developed country by 2047. The economy is growing fast and India leads the world in smartphone data consumption, global fintech adoption rate and milk production, while it is number two in terms of internet users and mobile manufacturing, and number three in the size of its startup ecosystem. An Indian spacecraft reached the moon and the country has had one of the fastest roll-outs of 5G technology, he said.

“In 10 years, India has gone from being the 11th largest economy to the fifth largest economy. I have faith in the abilities of all Indians, and Modi’s guarantee is that my third term make India the third largest economy. Modi’s guarantee is that the guarantee will be fulfilled,” he said.

India is building advanced expressways, new airports and railway stations, and the country is recognised for its innovations and mega infrastructure projects, while its digital revolution is praised around the world, he said.

“India’s increasing capabilities have given hope to the world for stability and progress. The world feels India can play a responsible role in creating a trustworthy global order. I am happy that India and the UAE are together making the world’s trust stronger,” Modi said.

India had invited the UAE as a partner when it successfully organised the G20 Summit, and the world now sees India as a “vishwa bandhu” (friend of the word) whose voice is heard on every big global platform. The government is working round the clock for Indians employed around the world and has also acted quickly to evacuate thousands of Indians facing problems in countries such as Ukraine, Yemen and Sudan, he said.

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