NEW DELHI — Congress president Rahul Gandhi praised the UAE for its exemplary track record of multi-culturalism, and said on Monday that a key mission of his visit on January 11 is to declare his solidarity with the Gulf nation as it marks the “Year of Tolerance,” according to Khaleej Times report.
Gandhi, the scion of Nehru-Gandhi family, said that as a second home to more than 3.8 million non-resident Indians (NRIs), the UAE enjoys a very special relationship with India built on several decades of friendly engagements and mutual trust.
Recalling the historic UAE visit of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1981, his grandmother, the Indian National Congress Party president said bilateral ties, cultural and emotional bonding of the two nations have been on a strong footing ever since. “I hold the UAE close to my heart. I never felt like a stranger whenever I visited this land of prosperity and peace. I do hope that the two countries will have a brighter future of steadfast cooperation and economic partnership built on shared values of tolerance, openness and mutual respect.”
He said the UAE is a role model nation of the 21st century. “We have a lot to learn from this modern and fast developing economic hub which is home to more than 200 nationalities, four international airlines and many other mind-boggling achievements.”
He said as the current head of a party led by Mahatma Gandhi, the universal icon of tolerance and peace, he considers it a great privilege to be in the UAE during “The year of Tolerance” at a time when India celebrates the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma, the Father of the Nation.
In a wide-ranging interview with Khaleej Times at his residence, Gandhi said NRIs remain a top priority for his party, which is hoping to come back to power in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
“I look forward to meeting as many of them as possible in the UAE. I want to listen and learn more about their concerns,” said Gandhi, who is embarking on his first visit to the UAE as the chief of the 133-year-old Congress party that has ruled India for more than six decades.
He said NRIs have been the backbone of the Congress party. From Mahatma Gandhji to Manmohan Singh and Sam Pitroda, many NRIs have made tremendous contributions to building India.”
Exuding confidence after his recent state election wins, and sounding eloquent, Gandhi said his party wants to give NRIs a bigger and critical role in reimagining a new India of inclusiveness and holistic growth, when asked whether the diaspora can hope to have symbolic representation in the parliament. “We want their voices to be heard more frequently and well respected. We want their ideas and suggestions to be an integral part of the decision making as well as development processes.”
“I would like to make them real partners in our innovation, research and manufacturing programmes. Overseas Indians are not just our Ambassadors in countries all over the world, they also have an important role to play in building a strong, prosperous India.”
On his party’s preparedness in forming a grand alliance to face the impending polls, Gandhi said his party “is battle-ready as demonstrated by our recent wins in the state elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. The opposition front is more united than ever before. Every Congress party worker is energised and ready for this battle and together we will win the next election.” (KT report)