India Rises on the Global Platform

Once again, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on a tour abroad.

And once again, he became the flag bearer of Indian pride, as it keeps rising up, on the global platform.

He reciprocated the warm receptions he has received in all the places he visited this week – Jordan, Palestine, UAE and Oman, in that order – not only with words, which were carefully aligned with India’s foreign policy but also with actions, of signing up some essential bilateral agreements.

As I write this on Sunday evening, Modi has landed in Oman. And he has been received at the airport in a traditional and ceremonial welcome.

But, earlier, in UAE, he had met with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan; and also with the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and ruler of the Emirate of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Apparently, the leaders had had “an engaging discussion on expanding cooperation in trade and investment, defence and security and people-to-people contacts”, as per the official Twitter account of the Ministry of External Affairs of India.

That is why, even though the laying of a foundation stone for BAPS Swaminarayan temple in Abu Dhabi has been on the forefront of most news channels, we should not forget that very important MoUs were also signed.

The signing of five agreements between India and the UAE, including in the areas of energy and transportation, following delegation-level talks headed by the Indian Prime Minister and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, shows us one thing.

That this is not a mere public relations tour as some in the Indian opposition have been saying.

In UAE, Prime Minister Modi took the India story to the business leaders, as he painted the vision of a new India and shared the ease of doing business in India with the business leaders from Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

On the start of the Hindu Temple, I believe that UAE is emulating its friendly neighbourhood country Bahrain, which has had a Hindu temple for over 200 years.

We all know that many churches, gurudwaras and even a synagogue, along with mosques, reflect the beautiful multi-faith society that Bahrain has become, to others.

In fact, the King Hamad Global Centre for Inter-Faith Dialogue and Peaceful Co-Existence will be officially inaugurated on March 14, in Bahrain.

Going back to UAE, when we consider that over three million Indians are residing there, the opening of this temple shows UAE’s strong commitment to tolerance and harmony. It is a powerful assurance of friendship with India; a country that gives it a large migrant workforce.

Much earlier , after his meeting in Jordan, with King Abdulla II, Modi visited Palestine and this meeting is an extremely significant one. No other Indian Prime Minister has ever visited Ramallah.

After Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel last year, and after Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to India, this year, there were apprehensions about this meet.

But, “History in the making. In a first-ever visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Palestine, PM is on the way to Ramallah in a chopper provided by Jordan government and escorted by choppers from Israel Air Force”, tweeted Raveesh Kumar, the Official Spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs, India.

“India hopes to see an independent Palestinian state soon, is committed to the well-being of its people” Modi had said to the Palestinians.

“India has always stood by the side of righteousness, peace in Palestine” replied President Mahmoud Abbas.

Not many are aware that India has been helping Palestine in training, technology, infra development and budgetary support.

And no wonder Mahmoud Abbas said he hoped India, a “world power that has a big status and weight,” would contribute to achieving peace between the Palestinians and Israel. “Such a peace deal will have a positive impact on world security and peace”, he said.

The fact that Mahmoud Abbas had refused to meet US Vice President Mike Pence just a few weeks ago, and the fact that he is now asking India to find an honest mediator, shows us a strange political climate change.

Indian relations with UAE, Jordan, Oman and Palestine will continue to thrive in the philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ which PM Modi keeps mentioning. It means “the world is one family”.