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Dubai: The Indian community has hailed the forthcoming visit of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to India as a new chapter in the century old Indo-UAE ties.

Veteran Indian expatriates, many of who have been in the region for more than half a century, expressed optimism that the strategic partnership between the two countries would gain momentum and reach a new level, ushering in a new collaborative era of investments mutually beneficial to both sides.

Maghanmal Jethanand Pancholia, 92, veteran Indian Businessman in the UAE for 75 years, credited with starting the first Indo Arab Electric Company in 1957

“I was most honoured to be part of this delegation to India, but could not go owing to my own health concerns. However, I know, the Indian diaspora here is very excited with this visit and we see it as a logical sequel to the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Traditionally, for nearly a century India had a strong trade relationship with the erstwhile Trucial States and since 1971 with the newly formed UAE. Earlier, it was largely pearl trading where the Thattai Bhatia community settled in Dubai for generations played a major role in not just financing pearling expeditions but also finding wealthy Indian families to purchase these pearls. Once electricity came to the UAE in the late 1950s, trade ties with India only expanded with the addition of electronic goods, foodstuff, timber, medicines and other products. The discovery of oil in the early 1970s was another chapter in the Indo-UAE relationship. Now, in the post-modern times, India and UAE are ready to enter a new mutually beneficial trade era. Investments from the UAE in infrastructure, energy, telecommunications, health care, education are expected to benefit India a great deal and help UAE reap rich return on investments. I see this translating into more tourism opportunities for India with more and more UAE nationals travelling to Indian destinations and reciprocating the already huge influx of Indian tourists here. It is going to be a win-win situation for all.”


Dr Zulekha Daud, 75, in the UAE for 50 years, came here as the first lady doctor at the age of 23

“I think this is the most wonderful news I have heard and think it is a matter of great pride and honour for India. We look forward to nurturing our long-term relationship between the two countries with this visit. We have witnessed the UAE government’s remarkable support in the creation of a sustainable health-care system in the region over the past five decades and we aim to replicate the same in our home country. Traditionally, the UAE has always had great faith in Indian doctors and nurses who have worked tirelessly for many years to build health care in this country. I am setting up one of the largest cancer hospitals in Nagpur, India, in association with my son who is an oncologist in the US and has created a very effective injection for cancer to build up the body’s immune system after chemotherapy. Once we set up this hospital, I hope to bring this expertise to the UAE and these bilateral relationships will be very conducive for such exchanges on both sides. I also feel that both India and the UAE would benefit with intensive research in the medical field and such collaborations can be worked out with ease and it will work wonders for both sides.”


Narain Sawlani, 75, veteran Indian businessman in the UAE for the last 58 years

“The Indian diaspora is very excited by the evolution of the Indo-UAE relationship, which is a new chapter in our trade relations that date back to over 100 years. While India will benefit a lot from the UAE investments in transport network, other infrastructure and work out new collaboration in the area of renewable energy, nuclear and space research, it will also encourage the Indian business community to be supportive and express solidarity with India by investing in India.”


Yogesh Mehta, 54, chairman of Petrochem Middle East, who is also part of the select group of Indian businessman accompanying the UAE delegation to India

“The Indo-UAE relationship has changed into a dynamic, mutually beneficial partnership ever since the Indian Prime Minister decided to visit here after a drought of visits from the Indian Government for more than a decade. The visit changed equations and has given a new perspective to the Indo-UAE relationship. I am honoured to be part of this delegation. I think the chemical and energy sector in the UAE can get a tremendous fillip working closely with their Indian counterparts as technical know-how can be exchanged. Personally, I think if some of the major chemical manufacturing industries from India can be encouraged to set up shop here it will have a very positive impact on the UAE as the GCC is a huge market for chemical exports.”


Dr Raza Seddiqui, 57, CEO of Arabian Health Care Group, RAK, in the UAE for 18 years

“We are very fortunate to witness the new era of Indo-UAE trade ties. India has been one of the largest trade partners of the UAE. The new business treaties being signed will not only mean huge profits on either side but also generate new jobs and new business opportunities that will work to the benefit of both sides. I think this mutual exchange of visits has greatly enhanced the dignity and respect accorded to the Indian diaspora. At the government levels if this bond has been strengthened it will filter down to the masses. One expects a lot of private entrepreneurs from the UAE to invest in India as investment deals are signed and this will have a great impact. When I came here initially I was promoting medical tourism in India. Now I promote medical tourism opportunities in the UAE. I think India has very cost-effective health expertise but lacks good hospitality standards. If the two countries are able to combine their relative strengths in the health-care industry — the expertise with the high standards of hospitality — it can work wonders in this field. There are leading Indian health-care groups that are waiting to come here to start revolutionary new treatments. I feel such collaborations will become a reality as the strategic Indo-UAE partnership enters a new era.”