WFY Today

India-UAE New Relations: A Closer Look At The Growing Indian Diaspora

With nearly 38% of the UAE population being Indian, the country has emerged as a top destination for overseas employment. As a result, when Indian Prime Minister Modi addressed the Indian Diaspora at a special event titled ‘Ahlan Modi‘ in the Zayed Sports City stadium, he was not only recognising the Indian community in the UAE but also Indians living all over the world. India’s diaspora policy actively engages its global population, and the Prime Minister makes contact with Indian communities in every country he visits, taking advantage of every opportunity. During the 1970s and 1980s, Indian immigration to the UAE increased significantly, driven by the region’s oil boom and Dubai’s burgeoning free trade zone.

The Indian community has played an important role in the UAE’s economic development, with a large number of Indian migrants bringing technical expertise and a variety of other skills to help the country grow.

The Indian government, under the current administration, has made ongoing efforts to recognise the contributions of the Indian Diaspora in the UAE by bestowing the Pravasi Samman Award upon them. PM Modi’s speech commemorated the long friendship between India and the UAE. The Prime Minister also spoke a few lines in Arabic before stating that India is in every Indian’s heart. What is remarkable is that the Indian government recognises overseas Indians’ loyalty to their host countries while also acknowledging their strong emotional connection to their homeland.

Remittances are a major component of engagement with the Indian Diaspora, and India is expected to receive the most remittances in 2023, totalling US$125 billion (18% from the UAE). In light of this, PM Modi’s statement that every Indian’s goal is to see India become a developed country by 2047 is appropriate.

The Indian Prime Minister’s address during his visit to the UAE drew a warm response from both the host country and the Indian community there, as well as India itself. A triadic relationship between a diaspora community, its host country, and its homeland is highly desirable.

The visit and address, dubbed ‘Ahlan Modi’, not only exemplify India’s diaspora policy but also promise to strengthen engagement and foster deeper people-to-people connections in the future.

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