The Arab hospitality at its best to welcome Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Saudi Arabia. The Indian leader is on a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia, voiced his appreciation for the hard work put in by the huge number of Indian blue collar workers for the development of the Gulf kingdom.
“It is your sweat and toil that has brought me here,” Modi said while addressing workers of L&T at their residential complex in Riyadh. “Your happiness is my happiness and when you are not happy, I also feel the same,” he said.
This was the second community interaction of Modi on Saturday. Earlier, Modi addressed members of the Indian community in a conference hall during which he spoke of India’s economic growth and rise on the world stage.
Modi told the workers’ gathering at the residential complex that India has the kind of manpower that the world needed today.
“When in the times to come, people will see the work you have done, you will realise the importance of your efforts,” he said.
He assured the workers that Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and the entire team of officials at the ministry of external affairs were ready to help if any of them got into any trouble.
After his arrival at the complex, the prime minister was given a presentation on the work on the Riyadh Metro Project for which the workers have been employed.
L&T is doing around $2 billion worth of work on one line of the $600-billion metro project.
There are nearly three million expatriate Indians in Saudi Arabia, many of whom are blue collar workers involved in the country’s infrastructure projects.
They send around $10 billion in remittances every year making an important contribution to the economy of their homeland.
Earlier on Saturday, Modi was received at the King Khalid International Airport by Governor of Riyadh Prince Faisal Bin Bandar Al Saud.
Saudi Arabia is the third and last leg of Modi’s three-nation tour which also took him to Brussels where he attended the 13th India-European Union (EU) Summit and held a bilateral meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and then to Washington where he participated in the Nuclear Security Summit hosted by US President Barack Obama.
This is the first prime ministerial visit from India to the oil-rich Gulf kingdom since the visit of then prime minister Manmohan Singh in 2010.
Apart from the community interactions on Saturday , Modi also visited the historic Masmak Fortress in the Saudi capital.
Located on Al Imam Turky Ibn Abdullah Ibn Muhammed street in Ad-Dira, Riyadh, the Masmak Fortress is an important monument in Saudi Arabia’s history.
Modi will be accorded a ceremonial welcome on Sunday afternoon at the Royal Court here by Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
King Salman will also host a lunch in honour of the visiting prime minister.
This will be followed by delegation-level talks and the signing of agreements.
During Modi’s visit, ties between India and Saudi Arabia are expected to be further elevated from the current strategic partnership to a more broad-based one.
Modi will leave for India late Sunday afternoon.