By Turki Aldakhil
1 February 2017
“India is yours if you have lost most of your possessions.” This is a proverb our grandparents and parents often said in the Arabian Peninsula. They travelled East and West, from Egypt to India.
The Gulf region’s relation with India has multiple aspects that are related to geography, history, cultural influences and travels on both sides. Above all that, economy on both sides has governed a relationship which no other country could replicate.
India, with its population of billions, dozens of religions and languages, has managed to have its people co-exist with one another. The incidents of violence, particularly between Hindus and Muslims, were not a regular phenomenon and only last a short time. Such events do not affect India’s magnificent co-existence.
An Emirati daily recently published a report about India’s “miracle” economy entitled “India transforms from a country that lives off grants to the world’s sixth largest economy.” The report provided essential information that helps understand the country.
“More than 150 years after British colonization, India managed to become the world’s sixth largest economy, thus replacing Britain which was the world’s sixth largest economy for years. Last October, the International Monetary Fund expected India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to increase by 7.6 percent during 2017.
However, the estimates of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) were more optimistic as it expected the average GDP to increase by 8.2 percent. This is the highest estimate by an international institution.
India’s cash reserves did not exceed $1 billion in the beginning of the 1990s. According to the Central Bank, India’s foreign reserves reached $355.95 billion by March 2016. The value of the bank’s gold reserves settled at $19.33 billion during the same phase,” the report said.
These are bits of information regarding Indian economy, which were highlighted during Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed’s historic visit to this country. These developments in India show that the Indian society does not rest on its laurels. The calm in that country, which has achieved miracles, is due to the fact that they are working without creating a fuss.
This is the nature of the Indian society, unlike other societies neighbouring it like Bangladesh and Pakistan. This is why Professor Abdullah al-Madani who is an expert in Asian affairs wrote a book entitled “Flashes from Asia…What Kumar did that Abdulfadeel did not do.”
If economic development is how we currently look at India, it is important to look at investments in all its fields. India’s industrial sector is developed, particularly in terms of medical industry. Gulf countries can form higher consultation councils between them and India in order to establish standards and supervise relations.
India has massive economic, historical and human resources and is somewhat detached from the global crisis. Engaging with the country is bound to be fruitful on the economic level at a time when major countries are going through economic decline, such as what has happened in Britain.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed’s visit enhanced trade ties between the two countries. Abdullah al-Saleh, the undersecretary for foreign trade and industry at the ministry of economy, said: “There is an ambitious vision between the UAE and India to achieve a 60 percent growth in commercial trade between the two countries so this growth exceeds $100 billion during the next five years and by 2020. The two countries have the necessary components to achieve this ambitious aim.”
This orientation towards Kumar’s creations is important. India’s miraculous society has, despite its massive number of people, lacked resources even though complicated demographics have helped it survive global crises.
Our grandparents were right when they said: “India is yours if you have lost most of your possessions.” India is a country of partnership through drought and riches and the pleasant and the unpleasant. This is the ancient civilization called India.
Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.