Expatriates gathered at the Indian Club in Dubai
Expatriates gathered at the India Club in Dubai to celebrate the victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday. Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

Dubai: Indians in Dubai spelt out their wishlist for the new government as they welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second term in office on Thursday evening.

Around 100 community members watched the live broadcast of the swearing-in-ceremony of Modi and his Cabinet ministers in New Delhi through a giant screen arranged at the India Club in Dubai.

Consul General of India in Dubai Vipul, former Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awardee Vasu Shroff, other prominent members of the Indian community and members of the Indian People’s Forum (IPF), the overseas offshoot of Modi’s party Bharatiya Janata Party, attended the event, which was organised by the Indian Consulate and the India Club.

Indian expatriates watch live broadcast of PM Narendra Modi’s swearing in ceremony at the India Club in Dubai: 

Wearing saffron clothes — the colour of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — and waving Indian flags, dozens of people applauded and cheered Modi and his ministers as they took oath.

Steel industrialist and former chairman of India Club Sidharth Balachandran hoped that Modi’s government would continue to work on the initiatives launched earlier based on what has been learnt over the past five years.

“This will be the time for him to show what they have learnt and continue the work on the initiatives that were launched,” he said. “I think consistency is the key. I hope the Rupee is taken care of, more so, in terms of strength. When the rupee gains strength, it is a signal of the economy strengthening.”

Divyata Rajaram, a Dubai-based author, said she was happy and hopeful for the coming days especially as the country needed mature and seasoned politicians.

“Some of the main issues for me are the issues regarding defence, the security of the county. I think the country is safe in Modi’s hands,” she said. “Internationally, the prestige of Indians has been at an all time high mainly due to Modiji’s international diplomatic efforts. I would want him to give reassurance to every citizen of India that he is actually Sabka-Saath Sabka-Vikas (With everyone for everyone’s development). We have seen it. But I would like others who may not be believing in that to also experience that he truly means what he says and it is not just for the election campaign that he has said that.”

Senthamil Selvan, was among a group of construction workers working at the Indian High School next door.

Speaking on behalf of the entire group, Selvan said: “People in Tamil Nadu didn’t vote for BJP because of central government’s projects like Neyveli Lignite Corporation. All of us here had to leave our place to come to Dubai to work because of that project. We don’t want such industries that will harm the people. We need other people-friendly and environment-friendly projects that will give employment to our youth and for us in the state, we need drinking water primarily.”

Adnoc Abu Dhabi lit up in tricolours to mark Modi’s swearing in ceremony:

Sunil Kumar, a librarian from Himachal Pradesh said he was very happy that Modi has come back to power.

“I hope he will work for the poor people in our villages, not just for the people in cities. Kids in our village have to cross the Vyas river and walk a lot to reach their school. So I hope the new government will build more schools nearby. Modi had promised Himachal Regiment status to our state. I hope he will do it.”

Shabbir Master from Gujarat who owns a pharmaceutical company, said he was happy that most ministers in Modi’s first cabinet performed well.

“But there were some faces who caused some concerns to us in the Muslim community. So I hope Modi will not allow a situation of polarisation in the name of religion and will continue to work for the progress of the country. I also hope that he will bring more welfare schemes for the NRIs (non resident Indians), especially for the rehabilitation of the workers who are returning home forever.”

Speaking to Gulf News, Indian Consul General Vipul said: “We are very happy today that the oath-taking has been done. This is the culmination of the long electoral process which has been very successful. It highlights the strength of Indian democracy and therefore a lot of people have gathered to see the oath-taking ceremony and for celebrating Indian democracy.

“As the Indian Consul General I’m very excited both about our country and our bilateral relations with the UAE. Certainly, in the last five years we have had a lot of achievements in the India-UAE relations across a wide range of sectors. I’m sure under the leadership of our PM and the government of the UAE, the commitment will expand further in various areas.”

“Since the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to UAE in August 2015, we have seen a real transformation in our bilateral ties. The close friendship that has blossomed over the last four years between our Prime Minister and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed is well-known. The whole world can see it today in this unique celebration of the re-election of the Prime Minister for a fresh five year term. The ADNOC tower behind us is beautifully lit up and adorned with the flags of India and UAE and visuals of the two leaders,” said Indian Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri, reports WAM.

“But beyond the symbolism of these images is also the clear direction that the Prime Minister and the Crown Prince have provided to diplomats like us to make the India-UAE Comprehensive Strategic Partnership a truly vibrant example of what we can achieve when we work together. We are seeing an unprecedented impact in areas such as trade and investment flows; food and energy security; manpower and skills; literature and culture; defense, space and security cooperation and, of course, our growing people to people connections,” he added.

“Since we are standing before the iconic ADNOC tower, let me just take the example of the energy sector. Over the last two years, we have seen it evolve from a simple buyer-seller relationship to a multi-faceted partnership that has led to our first strategic petroleum reserve, our first oil concessions in the Gulf and the agreement to work together in our West coast mega-refinery project.

“If I look at just the first few months of this year, we witnessed the remarkable participation of our Minister for External Affairs as Guest of Honour at the OIC Foreign Ministers’ meeting hosted by Abu Dhabi; announcement of the prestigious Sheikh Zayed award to to our Prime Minister; the foundation stone of the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi, India participating as Guest of Honour at Abu Dhabi Book Fair, launch of Gandhi-Zayed Digital Museum and so much more.”

So, as the Prime Minister starts his second term in office, there is tremendous sense of optimism for India-UAE ties. We now have the opportunity to build upon the strong platform that we have created over the last four years, and to make the coming period a truly Golden Era in our relationship,” he said.