I had the unique opportunity to work in Dubai for 9 years. During the years I worked there, I had marveled at U. A. E’s wealth, riches, broad-mindedness, simplicity, and great vision for the future. Thanks to the oil wealth, not only the U.A.E, but the entire Gulf region became highly prosperous. Thanks also due to many visionary rulers, they had spent their wealth on productive and futuristic assets. They attracted the best talents from all over the world, benefitting mainly the under-developed and developing countries like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippines, and several African nations. They had converted a desert into an oasis.
Some of these Arab nations, especially those like Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia, had been sitting on tons of oil wealth. Not able to find lucrative, yet, safe investments, a substantial portion of this wealth found their way into investments in highly developed nations like the USA, U.K etc., and substantially, in real estates too. Of course, a lot of money was getting wasted too.
During my stay there, I had always wondered why our India was unable to exploit our traditional bonding with the United Arab Emirates and their wealth for our productive developments. I had dreamed about a possible change in our country-to-country relationship. I had vocalized my feelings during casual conversation with many.
Remember, until a couple of decades back, our country and our banking system had always suffered from shortage of financial resources. Other than receiving substantial help by way of remittances from expat Indians in the U. A. E there was hardly any noticeable government-to-government bonding between India and the U. A. E. We could have constructively exploited our historical connections with them for infrastructure development in India during the eighties and nineties. India is known for honoring financial commitments and have never defaulted on our international commitments.
U. A. E prospered because of physical and intellectual labor of Indians for a substantial part. Our engineers, accountants, finance professionals, salesmen, and manual labor had helped Gulf countries, including U. A. E build their nations. We had enjoyed trade relations with them for thousands of years. We had never tried to rub these Arabic nations on the wrong side, so much so that, we were scared of even uttering the word ‘Israel’ in public. Indians are a much respected lot among the Arabs for their sincerity, loyalty and dependability. Many Arabs spoke freely Hindi and even, Malayalam. Everything was just ripe in our favor.
Probably, India missed some golden opportunities in the past.
I believe, the same story goes about our association with Israel too. We had failed in the past to use Israel’s superior knowledge, strategy, and technology for our benefit.
I now see an honest, strategic effort to rectify the past mistakes and build a fruitful relationship with U. A. E and Israel, not-withstanding our past ambivalent approach to Arab-Israel bilateral issues and conflicts. At least, a delayed realization and effort. We should only pray that the new approach brings positive results for India.
My dream about India – U.A.E relationship never found its way into a story, sadly though.
There is one more issue I must write about. That is about the North Eastern India. That might have to wait for a couple of days more….