NEW DELHI: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi today thanked countries in the Gulf, India’s extended neighbourhood, for rendering help to the large Indian communities there during the Coronavirus pandemic.
In his 90-minute Independence Day address, customary from the ramparts of the historic Red Fort here, Modi said "there are a large number of people from India who are working in many of these countries. India is indebted to all these countries for their help to the Indian community during the Coronavirus crisis by honouring India’s requests on their behalf. I want to personally thank them." From the archives of Independence Day speeches by Indian leaders in the last seven decades, this is the first time that a Prime Minister has referred to the Gulf on such a special occasion, reflecting the depth of ties between New Delhi and the GCC region achieved in recent years.
Modi acknowledged as much in his address. "Today, our neighbours are not the only the ones with whom we share geographical boundaries, but also those with whom we have close and harmonious relations." He continued: "It is my pleasure that India has strengthened its relationship with all the countries in its extended neighbourhood in the last few years. The political, economic and human relations with the countries in West Asia have progressed manifold. Trust has increased manifold." West Asia is a term that India uses to describe the geographical region of the Gulf and the rest of the Arab world that falls in Asia.
He said "the economic ties, particularly in the energy sector, are very important with these countries." India’s energy ties are the strongest with the UAE and Saudi Arabia, where multi-faceted and tri-partite cooperation has been initiated in the last five years.
"We are establishing deep relations based on security, development and trust with our neighbouring countries whether connected by sea or land. India has been making continuous efforts to deepen its decades-old cultural, economic and social ties," the Prime Minister concluded.
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