Modi will be the guest speaker for this year’s World Government Summit at Abu Dhabi on February 11 to 13. Dubai will host a major public event to welcome Modi. Over 2000 guests have been invited to hear Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speak at the imposing Dubai Opera on February 10….writes Hafeez Mohamed for Asian Lite News
Over 2000 guests have been invited to hear Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speak at the imposing Dubai Opera on February 10. It is a classy venue indeed. The next day there will also be a select meeting with him at Abu Dhabi organised by the Indian Embassy. This is Modi’s first visit to the Emirates after his tumultuous welcome in August 2015 when he underscored the massive across the board spike in Indo-UAE relations. Though this rushed 48-hour visit will not have the same mass participation with the Indian Premier specifically coming to attend the World Government Summit there will be time to revisit and further strengthen the bonds especially in the fields of commerce, security, investments and alternate energy besides education.
The UAE is home to over three million Indians but Modi will have to step a little more lightly since he visits the Middle East so soon after his playing very gracious host to Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu and no too long after the American recognition of Jerusalem as the capital instead of Tel Aviv. While the concern may not be mentioned it will be recorded.
Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, the minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future in the UAE Cabinet, and chairman of the World Government Summit, said Modi will be the guest speaker for this year’s World Government Summit.
“India’s economic development will be a good experience to share with the rest of the world,” said Mr Gergawi. “India has had a big role in space, digital revolution and human resources. We want to benefit from India’s experiences to be able to develop people’s quality of life.”
The emphasis this year is on Happiness as an element in governance as well Harness technology (use of IT in government) innovation.
The summit on February 11-13 is expected to attract 4,000 participants from 140 countries. The speakers include Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Angel Gurria, secretary-general of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development and Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum.
By the time he reaches the UAE Modi will have given several high profile speeches in recent times including his address to the World Economic Forum in Davos where he will for the first time next week be showcasing the several aspects of the new and young India to 4000 delegates. He is taking with him a large contingent as evidenced of his intent. Earlier, he has talked to ASEAN in Malaysia, the COP 21 conference in Paris on climate change and just this week at the India-Israel business forum. Add to this the Republic Day address to the nation and it has been a fair amount of words in recent times.
Consequently, his talks to the robust NRI community is not likely to cover any new grounds and will probably be the usual exhortation to do one’s duty by the mother country with the mandatory explanation of how GST has been a boon for the country. When he came here two years ago it was on a tidal wave of popularity and he filled the Dubai cricket stadium with over 20,000 enthusiasts and a cluster of jostling VIPs.
He spoke then of fight against terrorism and lauded the signing of the Indo-UAE anti-terror agreement, the new look India and the many initiatives to the Indian business community. Such was the pop star affection that Modi could have told off colour jokes and been hailed because all the public wanted to do was ‘see, hear and cheer’ Modi.
Things are going to be a lot less exciting this time round and there is no public gathering only by invitation. Depending on the security measures many invitees might have second thoughts. Also, having said so much there is hardly anything left to say and he must himself be suspecting he is sounding repetitive. For the select 2000 it is a bit of a social tick mark and probably distils into who sits ahead of the other in the great NRI optics stakes. For the uninvited, there is always TV.