Dubai: A 1,700-strong audience representing the multicultural layers of the Indian diaspora of UAE, gave a rousing welcome to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Dubai Opera on Sunday morning.
The auditorium erupted in slogans as Modi arrived to address the invitation-only community meeting at the 1,700-seat Dubai Opera.
Modi expressed his happiness at meeting the Indian expatriates of UAE twice in three years and praised the astute leadership of the UAE. “I had the opportunity of meeting His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of UAE and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, four times in the last three years. The first time was when I visited in 2015, then he visited India in February 2016 and later in January 2017 as our guest of honour for the Republic Day celebrations. I think we have been able to re-establish profound and strong ties with the Gulf which go beyond just a business partnership. It is now an enduring and meaningful relationship.”
Commenting on the ‘second home’ that most Indian expatriates had created in the UAE, Modi said it was due to the generosity and hospitality of the wise rulers that so many Indians were able to realise their dreams and become successful.
“A mini-India resides in the UAE. This is a unique partnership formed on lasting humanitarian values that I have witnessed and I want to express my deep gratitude on behalf of all Indians to His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed for granting us this permission to build a temple which is a unique symbol of magnanimity and tolerance and symbolises the Indian spiritual vision of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam’ — one world, one family.”
Modi added that it was the duty of every Indian expatriate to go out of their way and ensure that that the principles of tolerance and peace are truly upheld.
Talking about the rapid strides India had made on the global arena, Modi said that the country had moved rapidly on the international benchmark for ease of doing business, jumping a hundred notches ahead. “The world is our stage and millions of Indians are progressing to new heights and it is our responsibility to be inclusive in our success where the benefits reach the weakest nations on earth and we truly realise the ‘one world, one family’ principle.”
Commenting on the widespread criticism of the new measures of demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax (GST) he had introduced, Modi said it was important to introduce policies of intrinsic merit rather than just popular measures. “While the poor realised these measures had long-term benefits some wealthy men lost their sleep over these measures. Any change is difficult to accept. Even when you move to a new home, for a while you keep colliding into walls as you are unable to navigate your way around. In the same way people are finding it difficult to give up things that have been prevalent in the country for last 70 years. Slowly, as these measures show their long-term benefit, people will realise that eventually measures with intrinsic merits are those that become popular in the long-term because they work.”
He said that everyone must move ahead with strong conviction and faith in the country. “India has changed a lot and is changing continuously.”
He assured the Indian diaspora that he would partner in all the dreams they had for the community. “It has been a hectic journey of five countries in five days for me but I want you to continue dreaming about the future and I want to reassure you that I will work with you to realise those dreams that you have sooner rather than later. This is my promise.”
The Dubai Opera sported a festive look as Indian expatriates, braving the early morning fog and chill congregated at 7am to undergo strict security screening ahead of the arrival of Indian premier Narendra Modi at 9.30am. Modi, who signed five strategic agreements to cement the ties with UAE government earlier on Saturday, was ushered into the venue to a patriotically charged welcome.
People had arrived from neighbouring countries to get a glimpse of Modi. Paresh Rughani, an Indian motivational speaker based in London, said he flew down to Dubai to listen to Modi and be a volunteer at the temple ground-breaking ceremony.
“I do lectures called the magic of motivation. Today we saw in Dubai the support for PM Modi, the magic of ‘Modivation’. He is modifying the economy. He is showing that the whole world is one big family ... that the sun shines for all irrespective of cast or colour.”