PM Modi in UAE: says he’s “come home”, praises diaspora



It was significant that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said — when he landed in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday — that he feels like he’s “come home” and that whenever he visits the UAE it feels like he’s among members of his own family. For the more than 3.5 million members of the Indian diaspora in the UAE, this was a thumping endorsement that the bridge between their home country and their second home has been now set in stone.

The UAE President HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and PM Modi had a visibly affectionate reunion — even though they had met each other only last month when the former attended the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit in Ahmedabad — and the latter was accorded a ceremonial welcome with a Guard of Honour.

It had been expected that when the two leaders met for formal talks, there would be major announcements; by the end of it, there were no less than eight key agreements/MoUs exchanged, including a bilateral investment treaty to further boost economic traction between the two countries.
Here is a snapshot of the eight agreements:


At the end of the fruitful meeting, PM Modi tweeted: “Had an excellent meeting with my brother HH@MohamedBinZayed. India-UAE friendship is growing stronger and stronger, greatly benefiting the people of our nations.” HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, for his part, tweeted that he and PM Modi “discussed ways to advance bilateral ties across diverse fields such as economy, investment, trade, energy, and technology. The UAE and India are united by our shared keenness to develop the bilateral strategic partnership to achieve further progress and build a better future for our peoples.”

It couldn’t have been a better bedrock for the subsequent Ahlan Modi event organised by the NRI community in Abu Dhabi.

PM Modi set the stage — to thunderous applause and electric energy — by first felicitating the UAE NRIs. “You have scripted history by coming in such large numbers here. You may have come from different parts of UAE and from different states of India, but everyone’s hearts are connected.”

He spoke of the future: the UAE-India trade corridor, the deep friendship between the two countries, the imminent fruition of the MoUs that were signed earlier in the day, India’s trajectory to becoming the world’s third-largest economy, and how the country has secured its place in the sun on the global podium (“Today, the world sees India as a global friend. Today, India’s voice is heard on every major platform of the world”). In the afternoon, there had been an interaction between the PM and the first batch of students from the IIT Delhi-Abu Dhabi Campus; at Ahlan Modi, he announced that a CBSE office will be opened in Dubai soon, and spoke of how these educational collaborations will bring the youth of the two countries together.

But the most engaging part was his reaching out to the diaspora — at a familiar, ‘familial’ level. “I have come to meet my family members. I have brought the fragrance of the soil where you were born and have brought the message of 140 crore people. The message is that Bharat is proud of you”, “Your enthusiasm paints a beautiful picture of ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat’ [One India, Best India]”, and being almost philosophical with “Let us collect the memories which will be with me and you for the entire life”.

British MP Priti Patel was one among many who had flown in especially for the event, and she pointed out that “by being here today, I am able to share some of this with my friends, and our diaspora community in the UK”.

On Wednesday, PM Modi arrives in Dubai, where he will be meeting HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister, and Minister of Defense of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, and speaking at the ongoing World Government Summit. After that, he will inaugurate the BAPS temple in Abu Dhabi. —  Sushmita Bose is Managing Editor of




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