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Home / Politics / Policy /  Narendra Modi in Dubai: Are you with terrorism or humanity?

New Delhi: In a throwback to the reception he got at New York’s Madison Square Garden last year, prime minister Narendra Modi was greeted by 40,000 spectators at a Dubai stadium as he delivered a rousing speech on Monday, hitting out at terrorism and making a pitch for collective progress. “Good terrorist, bad terrorist, good Taliban, bad Taliban, this won’t work. A decision has to be taken: are you with terrorism or humanity?" asked Modi, who returned to India on Tuesday morning.

In fact, at the end of the PM’s two-day tour, India and the UAE turned to the same page on terror, calling all nations to reject the use of terrorism and bring perpetrators of such violence to justice. A joint statement issued by the two is being seen as a veiled message for Pakistan, whom New Delhi accuses of fostering anti-India militancy.

The statement made clear: “The two nations reject extremism and any link between religion and terrorism. They condemn efforts, including by states, to use religion to justify, support and sponsor terrorism against other countries. They also deplore efforts by countries to give religious and sectarian colour to political issues and disputes, including in West and South Asia, and use terrorism to pursue their aims."

Modi, without naming Pakistan, said that India wants good relations with all neighbouring countries. “I keep telling all neighbouring countries that like all people who have chosen the path of violence will have to come to the dialogue table at some point of time, similarly dialogue is the only way to resolve issues," he said. Read more

Among other issues, Modi spoke about India’s renewed relations with the UAE, new initiatives and schemes for non-resident Indians (NRIs) and its relationship with neighbouring countries.

Underlining the fact that dialogue was the only way to resolve all issues with neighbours, he cited the example of the recent Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh. At the same time, he emphasized on the the need for cooperation amongst Saarc nations. “You can travel in Europe, you won’t know when a country begins or ends. Same thing can happen in Saarc."

Addressing the Indian community in Dubai, Modi said, “I see before me here a mini-India. You are those people who have worked hard and are working here for many years. At the same time you are enhancing India’s pride." He lauded the Indian community’s efforts in helping the country. “Even if it rains in India, people in Dubai open their umbrellas to keep us safe," he said. Indians working in this Gulf country had the biggest contribution in filling the treasury of India, he added. Read the highlights of his speech here.

In another key development, India and the UAE decided to set up a multi-billion dollar fund to tap into investment opportunities in the country’s infrastructure sector. The fund plans to raise up to $75 billion to support investment in India’s rapid expansion of next generation infrastructure, particularly in railways, ports, roads, airports, industrial corridors and parks, an official statement said. No details were available about the timeframe for raising the money or the investment plans. The two countries also decided to further promote trade and use their respective locations and infrastructure for expanding trade in the region and beyond; and, with the target of increasing trade by 60% in the next five years.

In India, the Congress slammed the PM for criticizing “previous Indian governments" in the UAE, even as it claimed that Narendra Modi’s visit to Abu Dhabi mosque was a political ploy for Bihar elections. The party also attacked the PM for talking to Pakistan over the “coffins" of Indians. AICC spokesman Meem Afzal said,

“The PM should have maintained the dignity of the high office he holds. There is no problem if he targets previous governments when he is in the country. But he should have refrained from doing so on foreign soil." The Congress said it had become a pattern with the PM and “he loses his mental balance on foreign soil".

Meanwhile, Modi’s visit to the UAE has sparked a war of words between people of Indian and Pakistani origin in the Gulf country in cyberspace.

The Prime Minister could not have chosen a more important country to visit than the UAE. It has the largest Indian expatriate population anywhere in the Gulf as well as in the world. The local government values the Indian workforce, skilled as well as unskilled, even though their working conditions leave a lot to be desired. India-UAE trade, more than brisk, lends added importance to Modi’s visit. The presence of Indian underworld operators in Dubai, including the most wanted of them all—Dawood Ibrahim— and their connections with Pakistan, however, complicates India-UAE relations.

The rapidly changing security environment of the Gulf and the region’s sharpening internal contradictions are likely to make India an increasingly attractive strategic partner for many kingdoms, said an Indian Express article. Although India may have forgotten its strategic past, the developments in the Gulf could nudge Delhi towards reclaiming its historic role there, a lot sooner than many think.

Monday’s event was a big show of strength by Dubai’s Indian community. From NRI business tycoon Yusuf Ali to B.R. Shetty, who opened his pursestrings to support the event, many business heavyweights like Shamseer Vayalil, Azad Moopan, Shamsuddin bin Mohidin and Sudheer Kumar Shetty were among the front row attendees at the mega event.

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