UAE expats pin big hopes on Modi's visit


UAE expats pin big hopes on Modis visit
Photo by Nezar Balout/Khaleej Times

Dubai - The Indian expat community say wholeheartedly, this I-day is truly special because 'India's leader, Narendra Modi, has graced it'.

by Dhanusha Gokulan

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Sun 16 Aug 2015, 11:18 AM

Last updated: Sun 16 Aug 2015, 5:09 PM

For years to come, the 69th Independence Day of India will cherish memories of the estimated 2.6 million Indian expats now residing in the UAE. This year, they got their prime minister to grace the anniversary of the day India got its freedom from over 150 years of British colonial rule. The Indian expat community say wholeheartedly, this I-day is truly special because 'India's leader, Narendra Modi, has graced it'.
Also, they were eager to see, hear and cheer Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Monday. Consul General of India Anurag Bhushan said that he hopes Modi's visit will truly be memorable. He praised the efforts of members of the Indian community in Dubai who have been putting a lot of efforts to make the ceremony a grand success. 
He said: "I hope everyone will come with the national flag and celebrate in the spirit of our brother-hood." Several people who attended the I-day celebrations said that they expect Modi to look into the issues of blue collared Indian workers living in the UAE.
Dubai resident and sales manager at a retail firm, Amit Soni said: "He is the pride of our nation and it's after 34 long years that an Indian leader has come here. It is a matter of great pride." The last Indian prime minister to visit the UAE was the late Indira Gandhi, in 1981. Soni said the Indian PM Modi must look into the plight of labourers. 
"The executives have done well for themselves. But it is the workers who need Modi's support and encouragement." Aditya Patel, marketing professional, who also happens to be a Gujarati like Modi, said: "I am proud because I am an Indian and not because I am a Gujarati. It's after a long time that we have an energetic and aggressive leader, and it is a matter of great pride." 
Patel said that Modi has great leadership qualities and it will be great to see him in person. Krupa Patel said: "We were one of the first few people who registered for the event. We logged on to the website within half an hour the website went live." Residents like Vartika Singh hopes Modi's visit will make NRI voting a reality. 
"As residents we have high hopes from him because his plan of action and his forward thinking way of governance has been very beneficial for India." She added: "I hope he makes NRI voting a reality." Bhavya Karapath, 15-year-old resident of Dubai, said: "This is the first time that I am getting to see an Indian leader since my birth. I am glad I am of the right age to be part of this event." 
Ready to miss work but not NaMo in Dubai
'"It is like the cricket world cup all over again," said Vaibhav Raisinghani, an MBA student and Dubai resident. 
"I've been thinking of excuses on how to leave work early all week," he added. Indian residents planning to attend 'Namo in Dubai' said that they are in a quandary on the timings of the event. Raisinghani, a student, said his work finishes by 7pm, after which he needs to leave for class-es in the evening. 
However, many respondents who spoke to Khaleej Times said that they are willing to skip work for a few hours because meeting Modi is a "once in a lifetime event". "It is not like he comes to visit every few days. Maybe I might not see an Indian leader again in my lifetime. Why should I miss it," said Insiya Asghar, a resident of Sharjah. Several Indian residents living in Ajman, Umm Al Quwaiin and Ras Al Khaimah said that they are specifically driving to Dubai to meet Modi. 
"I work in Ajman, but I am coming to Dubai at 2pm on Monday to attend the event. I don't want to miss it for the world," said Ajman resident and MBA student Jude Martin.
Sharjah resident Dolly Gir said: "I am coming to Dubai on Monday with a group of friends. I will be missing four hours of work on that day, but I don't mind. I won't get this opportunity again."

Dhanusha Gokulan
Dhanusha Gokulan

More news from