By K.N. Pandita
Historians will record Modi’s two-day visit to the UAE and Dubai as a landmark in opening up his country of 1.25 billion people to incredible investment by the Emirates. To two main categories of people in the Emirates, Modi’s visit has brought immeasurable cheer. First is the 2.7 lakh strong Indian industrial work force most of them labourers, factory workers, wage earners and office goers who earn their wages through honest labour, and in the process, have helped build the Sheikhdoms brick by brick. The second category of beneficiaries is of the investors in the Gulf who have the capital and now have the opportunities of investing it in a mega investment venture. Therefore, the most important takeaway of the prime minister’s visit is that it will open this door of foreign direct investment towards India.
Earlier there were investors from the developed world to manage the Gulf capital but after 9/11, deep insecurity and uncertainty engulfed the Gulf Cooperative Council investors, chasing them away, and left the Emirates with burgeoning capital in their coffers. When the PM of a country of the size of India came on a visit, it made Arab investors believe that ‘here is the captain’. It gave a huge sense of hope to investors in this region that is home to a large amount of capital. Their UAE sovereign fund has more than a trillion dollars; the Islamic banks in UAE have two trillion dollars. Additionally a lot of independent funds, too, have another trillion dollars which waits to be invested in Indian industry. And what is more, the investors will be dealing with the iron man from India who is not only business savvy but more importantly commands the respect and support of a formidable majority in the Indian Parliament. This generates stability and security, two primary pre-requisites of safe investment. It is the trust that supersedes all diplomatic nuances and sophistry, Modi said in his address to 50,000 strong Indian audiences at the spacious cricket stadium in Abu Dhabi. It is this commitment to mutual trust that will attract Gulf money to India. The infrastructure projects, the power sector and cement sector are industries which typically they would like to invest in and they are Islamic-ally-compliant. Gulf investors, who have been visiting India casually, have high opinion of Modi government and they have already made up their mind.
Another important takeoff from PM’s two-day memorable visit is his jaunt to the fabulous mosque of Abu Dhabi. Thousands of Indian Muslims, Shias, Sunnis, Bohras Deobandis, Barelvis, Salfis, Biharis, Bengalis, Keralites and from so many corners of India, one and all were euphoric to welcome him and broke into thunderous slogans of Modi, Modi, Modi. Here was one nation welcoming its one leader whose government has one and only one goal and that is of development for all. This historic visit of the Prime Minister established his secular and nationalist credentials for all times to come; it is also a decisive slap on the face of his political opponents at home who have been foremost in inflicting the festering wound of communalism on the body of this nation. What have they, and their blind camp followers to say on the announcement of the UAE that it will allot land for construction of a temple. Does it not change the entire concept of Islam purported by diehard fundamentalists especially of non-Arab origin, and propagated by vested political clusters. Is it not a prelude to a new pattern of relationship between al-Hind and the Arab and the Muslim world? All praise should go to the visionary Prime Minister who has steered the ship of the state through the turbulent current of contemporary times with his flawless merit of statesman
No less significant is the clarion call rising from the spacious cricket ground of the Emirates to the perpetrators of inter-state and international terrorism that it has to pull down the shutters of its terror shops. The final call has been given and the time for follow up action is very short. The UAE will cooperate with India in proposing a Convention at the UN aimed at curbing terrorism through collective effort of the international community. This is a great success in motivating entire world community into adequate action against the engines of terror. And last but not the least, here in the UAE, we have now a very forthcoming and committed constituency that supports reforms in the UN and permanent membership of the Security Council for the Republic of India. UAE has opened new path for the entire Arab world to shape their foreign policy in a new scenario of international relations.
Plunder of JK Forests:
No wonder if the Parliamentary Panel on Environment and Forests has held the State government responsible for degradation of State’s ecology and environments caused by wanton destruction and damages to its forest wealth. The report of the panel, now submitted to the Rajya Sabha, has traced the causes and consequences of wanton destruction of forest wealth leading to great health hazards to the people of the State. Pollution of water bodies, obstruction in the smooth flow of water by raising structures on encroached lands and utter neglect of de-silting of rivers and nullahs have wrought havoc in the shape of floods of September 2014. The State has not taken any major step in providing waste disposal mechanism along modern lines, nor has it cared to have planned colonies to meet the requirements of burgeoning population. The panel report says that no attention has been paid to the early warning system of impending calamities like floods or avalanches or earthquakes that could have helped people take preventive measures and save their lives.
We have in these columns brought all this to the notice of the authorities. The report of the parliamentary penal vindicates our comments and views based on the reaction of the people at large. There are some sound recommendations in the report and most of these are implementable. We would expect the government to react to the suggestions which broadly speaking cover two areas, viz. preventive measures and reconstructive measures. The State’s forest wealth has to be rebuilt and green cover has to be provided to the swelling population. Thousands of kanals of forest land illegally grabbed by forest mafia has to be vacated and retrieved and rebuilt as new forests. Forests have to be made the lungs through which life breathes.