Arab Muslim UAE Is Top Education and Employment Destination For Indians From Modi's Hindu Rashtra

The United Arab Emirates, a grouping of  seven Arab Muslim kingdoms, has now become the number one destination for education and employment of people from Hindu India, according to the government data from the two countries. 

India is now ruled by the right-wing Hindu BJP party headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi whose entire politics is based on extreme hatred of Islam and Muslims. In 2020, Emirati Princess Sheikha Hend bint Faisal al-Qasimi strongly criticized Islamophobia in India. She also expressed solidarity and sympathies with Indian Muslims and Kashmiris.

Indians Students Abroad. Source: Economic Times

Over 1.2 million Indian students are now studying overseas, twice more than a decade ago. The UAE has 219,000 Indian students, Canada 215,720, the US 211,930, Australia 92,383, Saudi Arabia 80,800, Britain 55,465, and Oman 43,600, according to the data from India's Ministry of External Affairs

UAE Expat Population. Source: Global Media Insight

In addition to students, there are millions of foreigners working in the UAE. Currently, the Indian population in UAE is the highest with 2.75 million, followed by Pakistanis with 1.27 million. The UAE has around 0.75 million Bangladeshi nationals, 0.56 million Filipinos, and 0.48 million Iranians. There are also people from Egypt (0.42 million), Nepal (0.32 million), Sri Lanka ( 0.32 million), China (0.21 million) and the rest of the world (1.79million).

Last year, India received $43 billion in remittances from the UAE. Total worker remittances to India reached $87 billion last fiscal year, making it the world's largest recipient of these remittances. 
The United States was the second largest destination for Indian students. China maintained its top position among the leading places of origin for international students, with 35% of all international students in the 2020-21 school year hailing from the country, according to the data released by the United States government.  The second most common place of origin was India (18%), followed by South Korea (4%) and Canada (3%). Some of these countries also experienced the largest year-over-year declines in the number of students who enrolled at US institutions. The largest such percentage decreases occurred in South Korea (-21%), China (-15%) and India (-13%).

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Comment by Riaz Haq on March 6, 2022 at 9:50am

Why affluent Indian expats are following Shah Rukh Khan and Sania Mirza to Dubai | South China Morning Post

Indians have long associated the emirate with menial jobs and construction work, but in recent years it has been attracting a far more affluent crowd heading to its
Pfizer Covid shots, sparkling clean streets and tax-free policies are among the draws. And for investors with US$2.7 million to spare, there are ‘Golden Visas’, too


Cleanliness, safety, world-class living standards, easing of visa rules are just some of the reasons why affluent Indians are choosing to make Dubai home

Ask entrepreneur Ankit Chona his pick for "the cleanest Indian city" and pat comes the answer: Dubai. Businesswoman Neha Kashyap would rate Dubai as "the safest Indian city" while restaurateur Bhupendra Nath would term Dubai as "the best Indian city for business." The Emirate, a short flight away from Delhi or Mumbai is emerging as the ‘home’ away from home over the last two years with many shifting there, setting up a temporary or permanent base or expanding their businesses.

The second wave of Covid 19 that ravaged the world seemed to have further cemented Dubai’s standing as a long term stay destination of choice among rich Indians across the world. Chona, who has a chain of 65 restaurants across India and a former promoter of Havmor ice cream says he took literally the last flight to leave Ahmedabad for Dubai before lockdown this year. He thought he would stay there for a month and return once his restaurants reopen. Impressed with the handling of Covid situation


Rich Indians leaving country: Government could look

The government could look at increasing the cut-off days for non-resident Indians (NRIs) to determine their residency status and tax their global income domestically in a bid to stop the flow of rich Indians to other countries.

The cut-off was reduced to 120 days from 183 days earlier to determine their residency status.

Tax experts said this has backfired as many rich Indians would rather take up citizenship elsewhere and save taxes they would have to cough up in India.

“The constant flow of rich Indians moving to another country or taking up residency in another country can be a concern for India as it plans to reach the $5 trillion economy,” said Sudhir Kapadia, national leader-tax at EY India. “One of the ways we attract more HNIsto continue with Indian citizenship is to increase the number of days from 120 to 180 to be an Indian citizen.”

In 2019, India was second only to China when it came to high net worth individuals (HNIs) leaving the country, according to a Global Wealth Migration Review report.

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 6, 2022 at 10:00am

Rich Russians have been squirreling money away in the U.K. and U.S.


Yachts, luxury apartments, private planes, even a soccer team are just some of the possessions that Russian billionaires could lose as the U.S., U.K. and the European Union all level sanctions on business leaders with close ties to Vladimir Putin. Even neutral Switzerland is freezing the bank accounts of wealthy Russians. So how did so much Russian money end up in Western countries? Tom Burgis is a reporter with the Financial Times and author of "Kleptopia: How Dirty Money Is Conquering The World." He joins us from London. Thanks so much for being with us.

TOM BURGIS: It's a real pleasure to be with you. Thanks.

SIMON: And help us understand how the U.K., U.S., EU became such attractive places for oligarchs to park their money.

BURGIS: Well, it's really to do with the rule of law. So kleptocrats, those who seize power in a state, seize control of a state and then use those state powers to loot, plunder public money, gather themselves an enormous fortune - and you keep this power through lawlessness, right? You mustn't allow the rule of law to take hold in your own country, or you'd be toast. But what you want for your own wealth is to transform it into legitimate riches - right? - just as you want to transform your rule. So it seems like you're a statesman, and you can stride around the world in that disguise. So what you do is you put your wealth into camouflage, right? You use it in an anonymously owned company. And safely disguised, you march your wealth into the West, where there's the rule of law, and you park it there.

SIMON: Well, was there some feeling - and I am thinking, you know, particularly of real estate operators in Mayfair in London or people, you know, companies that own condo towers in New York or developments along the left bank in Paris - was there some feeling - oh, this is great? This is a lot of money coming into our economy. We should be happy.

BURGIS: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, this money was welcomed with open arms. There was recently some great undercover reporting done in New York when a state agent - real estate agent after real estate agent was wide open to taking what was obviously corrupt money. There's an entire industry that has grown incredibly wealthy servicing this international kleptocracy - not just Russians, of course, but kleptocrats from across the world.

SIMON: The U.S. is a country where we famously believe, follow the money. How do you disguise so much money?

BURGIS: Right. I mean, basically, we're talking about the ability to set up a company. It's just a company or something similar, but it doesn't really do anything. It's not making rubber chickens or selling apples or oranges. It's a few pieces of paper in the British Virgin Islands or Gibraltar or sometimes - in fact, often - Delaware. And that company can act like a person, yeah? It can hire lawyers. It can open bank accounts. It can buy and sell things. But the person behind it is completely invisible.

SIMON: You've referred to the financial secrecy that holds all of this together as the greatest threat to democracy. Help us understand that.

BURGIS: I think the greatest threat to democracy is kleptocracy - right? - the rule of the few through corruption that is spreading around the world and extending its tentacles into Western democracies. But now, trillions and trillions and trillions of dollars are in this offshore secrecy system where their owner is disguised. I mean, that's actually an extraordinary idea. We've become so used to it that I think we've become inured to it. But that is astonishing, that someone can buy the most expensive houses in London, can shift money to the financial system that ends up in - even sometimes in political donations, and can do so without revealing their face.

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 10, 2022 at 6:28pm

Over 2700 Indian and over 800 Pakistani workers died in Qatar over the last decade.

2711 Indians, 1641 Nepalese, 1018 Bangladeshis, 824 Pakistanis and 557 Sri Lankans have died in Qatar from 2010 to 2020.

More than 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have died in Qatar since it won the right to host the World Cup 10 years ago, the Guardian can reveal.

The findings, compiled from government sources, mean an average of 12 migrant workers from these five south Asian nations have died each week since the night in December 2010 when the streets of Doha were filled with ecstatic crowds celebrating Qatar’s victory.

Data from India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka revealed there were 5,927 deaths of migrant workers in the period 2011–2020. Separately, data from Pakistan’s embassy in Qatar reported a further 824 deaths of Pakistani workers, between 2010 and 2020.


There are 700,000 Indians, 400,000 Bangladeshis, 400,000 Nepalese, 300,000 Egyptians, 236,000 Filipinos, 150,000 Pakistanis and 140,000 Sri Lankans in Qatar

An indication of what the future might hold depends on the labour deals signed by Qatar with other select countries. Besides, Bangladeshi community is fast growing, and might continue sky-rocketing at rapid pace, while several other nations have already signed deals with Qatar. For instance, there is an ongoing drive to bring an additional 100,000 Pakistanis to the country, and a deal to this effect is being signed. Further, according to ‘The Population Policy of the State of Qatar 2017-2022’, published by the Permanent Population Committee has outlined one of its goals as being able to balance the distribution of workers by nationality, so as to reduce the concentration of certain nationalities in select professions. However, priority would be given to Arab nationalities during recruitment. So, it remains to be seen if this translates into higher growth in these

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 24, 2022 at 7:25am

India leads global exodus for better life, says UN report
The country now has the world’s largest diaspora population of 18 million; top migration experts find figure questionable.

When the political system is democratic, an education system that has thus far promoted liberalism and plurality, and intelligent youngsters willing to seek better opportunities in like-minded economies around the world, what is the outcome?

A migration of epic proportions.

A 2022 World Migration Report released by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, estimates that India has the highest number of international migrants in the world. It found that last year, in 2021, 18 million Indians were living abroad, despite the many travel restrictions on account of COVID.

The report by the United Nations-affiliated body estimates that 10 million or about one crore Indians migrated abroad in the period 2000–10.

"Mexico is the second most significant origin country at around 11 million. The Russian Federation is the third largest origin country, followed closely by China (around 10.8 million and 10 million respectively),” says the report.

"There are two types of international migration from India: first, workers who are categorised as ‘unskilled’ or ‘semi-skilled’ and who migrate mostly to the Gulf countries. Second, the semi-skilled workers, professionals, and students who migrate to the advanced capitalist countries,” explains Naresh M. Gehi, Founder & Principal Attorney, Gehis Immigration & International Legal Services.

He explains: "With remittances earned from abroad, families of international migrants have prospered and could contribute to the development of their provinces and country. The knowledge gained by emigrants from India about the economic progress made in other parts of the world, and the social, cultural, political values of other societies, also benefit the country."

Advanced countries and Gulf

The flip side, according to Gehi, is that most upper caste or general category people in the country have migrated to the advanced capitalist countries, while the Dalits and backward classes have found their moorings in the Gulf as unskilled labour.

Due to the high cost of international migration, and the lack of land and resources for most people from the poorer or backward class families, their participation in international migration is relatively low.

Estimates suggest that most emigrants to the Gulf send money home to their families. Even some first-generation emigrants to advanced capitalist countries did the same, but the trend is rapidly declining now.

Such is the desperation to leave India – coupled with a lack of resources – that to cover the costs, emigrants’ families must take loans from institutional and non-institutional sources and sell land, plots, houses, vehicles, farm machinery, jewellery, livestock and much else besides. Household savings must be used and helped, or advance money taken from relatives and friends and employers.

International remittances

There is a gap between the migration expenditure incurred and remittances made by international migrants, which directly brings to light the flow of capital out of the country. This is likely to increase soon, the report predicts. According to it, in 2020, the total Indian remittances stood at $59 million.

No surprise that many families of international migrants are in debt.

Most significantly, the lust for migrating is all-consuming. The proportion of educated people, for example, among international migrants is high and steadily increasing. These individuals range from secondary school to PhD degree holders. Their emigration clearly highlights the ongoing problem of ‘brain drain’ from India.

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 24, 2022 at 7:26am

India leads global exodus for better life, says UN report
The country now has the world’s largest diaspora population of 18 million; top migration experts find figure questionable.

The immense power and resources of society have been used for their upbringing and education, but it is benefiting the foreign countries, experts say.

Of emigrants who leave on student visas, most have a low level of education abroad and many of them do physical work which they would strongly eschew in their home country.

Although some religious institutions and philanthropists abroad do help those who have left the country, most NRI businessmen couldn't care less.

S Irudaya Rajan, one of India’s leading migration experts, while not doubting the extent of those emigrating, raises questions about the figure of 18 million being presented by the World Migration Report. "When the Indian government itself does not have figures of how many Indians there are abroad and if the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) numbers about how many `overseas Indians’ (31 million) is not in consonance with what the United Nations is saying, which figure are we expected to believe,” he queries.

Brand India hazy

He believes this is a national craze that is not going to go away until Brand India makes a place for itself. "When India’s labour classes go to the Middle East, the governments in the Gulf are very careful to brand them as temporary wage labour, on let’s say, a two-year contract, upon the expiry of which they have to leave. The US allows Indians to stay on and you can see that once an Indian reaches those shores, he is unlikely to ever come back,’’ Rajan, who is also Chairman of The International Institute of Migration and Development, Kerala, told Moneycontrol.

A total of 8,81,254 Indians gave up their citizenship since 2015, the Ministry of Home Affairs informed the Lok Sabha in December last year – and it needs no guess to know that they have become residents of developed countries.

Amarjiva Lochan, governing council member, India Centre for Migration (ICM), a think tank attached to the MEA, is another doubting Thomas: "Figures presented by the World Migration Council are doubtful. They are designed to show India in a bad light, as if everyone is wanting to get the hell out of here. It is politically motivated.”

Nonetheless, experts like Gehi sum up this frenzy to get out of this country – by hook or by crook.

*** Better quality of life. People aspire for a better quality of life. This includes unpolluted environment, 24/7 electricity and drinking water at home.

*** Social pressure. Settling abroad is considered successful. Owning a shop in the USA is more successful than owning the same shop in India.

*** Search for suitable matches. In matrimonial advertisements, it is not uncommon to see people searching for `only those who are settled abroad.’

*** Lack of research opportunities in the country. Those interested in cutting edge research want to move to the US, Canada, which facilitates migration, or Europe. In reality, many Indian government funds discourage money to be spent on going abroad, because they believe it will be misused.

*** Lack of support for entrepreneurship. Although it is picking up, India has a long way to go. Many ideas such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Uber, Quora, etc. are very simple ideas, but they get venture funding and fructify.

*** Extreme corruption. On a monthly basis a big scam surfaces, leading to suspicion among bright young minds, who lose hope in the system.

*** Social Injustice. Some feel discriminated because of their caste (lower or upper), or their religion, and prefer to move to developed countries, where they expect that discrimination to be less or hopefully, non-existent.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 18, 2022 at 6:48pm

Pakistanis ($10.6 billion) are the third largest investors in Dubai real estate, after India ($29.8 billion) and the UK ($14.7 billion), according to EU Tax Observatory:

This paper provides a thorough analysis of foreign investment in Dubai real estate. Cross-border ownership of real estate is a blind spot of existing statistics on international investments. Our data allow us to shed light on this under-studied aspect of financial globalization. A number of findings stand out. First, offshore real estate in Dubai is large—at least USD 146 billion in 2020, about twice as much as in London. Second, geographical proximity and historic ties seem to be important determinants of foreign investments in Dubai. About half of offshore Dubai real estate is owned by nationals of India, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. Other large investors in absolute terms include Canada, Russia, and the United States. Third, some countries have large holdings in Dubai relative to size of their economy, equivalent to 5%–10% of their GDP: conflict-ridden countries like Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Sudan; autocracies like Eritrea, Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan. Last, by matching properties owned by Norwegians to administrative tax records in Norway (a country that taxes wealth), we find that the probability to own offshore real estate rises sharply with wealth, including within the very top of the wealth distribution. At least 70% of Dubai properties owned by Norwegian taxpayers were not reported for tax purposes in 2020.
These results inform ongoing debates about the measurement and regulation of cross-border wealth and have implications for global imbalances, for tax enforcement, and for assessing the effectiveness of recent policies aimed at improving the exchange of information between countries. There has long been a concern that real estate is used for money laundering and hiding wealth from tax authorities. However, to date there was very little data to quantify this issue, as most estimates of offshore wealth focus on financial assets. Our findings suggest that offshore real estate is quantitatively significant. Moreover, in the case of Norway, the bulk of this wealth appears to go unreported for tax purposes. This is despite the fact that Norway and Dubai agreed in 2015 to automatically exchange financial information under the common reporting standard. This finding illustrates the limitation of the current forms of international information exchange and suggests that additional policies—such as information sharing on the owners of real estate—may be required to create transparency and curb tax evasion through offshore financial centers.


First, offshore real estate in Dubai is large: at least $146 billion in foreign wealth is
invested in the Dubai property market. This is twice as much as real estate held in London
by foreigners through shell companies. Second, geographical proximity and historic ties
are key determinants of foreign investments in Dubai. About 20% of offshore Dubai real
estate is owned by investors from India and 10% by investors from the United Kingdom;
other large investing countries include Pakistan, Gulf countries, Iran, Canada, Russia, and
the United States. These patterns hold when focusing on the most affluent neighborhoods,
with the main difference that Indian investments become relatively smaller and Russian
investments larger. Third, a number of conflict-ridden countries and autocracies have
large holdings in Dubai relative to the size of their economy, equivalent to 5%–10% of
their GDP. This suggests that the official net foreign asset position of a number of lowincome economies is significantly under-estimated.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 7, 2022 at 6:55am

Why India Can not Ignore GCC Protests Over Insults to Prophet Muhammad

• 8.9 million Indians work in Gulf nations.

• 60% India's crude oil comes from Middle East.

• UAE is India'a third largest trade partner.

• Half of remittances to India ($ 40 billion) is sent from 5 gulf nations.


Arif Rafiq
India’s ruling Hindu nationalist BJP is a violent, decidedly anti-Muslim party that also seeks strong economic and strategic ties with Muslim-majority West Asian states.

Occasionally, this contradiction rises to the surface and then subsides. Will this time be different?

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 7, 2022 at 7:03am

#UAE joins #Muslim nations in slamming #Modi's #India over Prophet remarks. Earlier, #Kuwait, #Qatar, #SaudiArabia, #Pakistan and other Muslim-majority countries in and outside the Gulf region condemned the comments by ruling #BJP members. via @AJEnglish

Anger is spreading in the Middle East over disparaging comments made by an official of India’s ruling party about the Prophet Muhammad, with various countries summoning New Delhi’s envoy and demanding a public apology.

The United Arab Emirates – a close India ally – became the latest Gulf state to voice its condemnation of the remarks made last week by Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal, two members of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The right-wing party took no action against Sharma and Jindal until Sunday when a chorus of diplomatic outrage began, with Qatar and Kuwait summoning their Indian ambassadors to protest. Shortly afterwards, the BJP suspended Sharma and expelled Jindal, and issued a rare statement saying it “strongly denounces insult of any religious personalities”.

The UAE’s foreign ministry on Monday said the BJP officials’ comments were “contrary to moral and humanitarian values and principles”. The ministry underlined the “need for respecting religious symbols… and countering hate speech”, state news agency WAM reported.

Earlier, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other Muslim-majority countries in and outside the Gulf region condemned the comments by the BJP members.

The right-wing party took no action against Sharma and Jindal until Sunday when a chorus of diplomatic outrage began, with Qatar and Kuwait summoning their Indian ambassadors to protest. Shortly afterwards, the BJP suspended Sharma and expelled Jindal, and issued a rare statement saying it “strongly denounces insult of any religious personalities”.

The UAE’s foreign ministry on Monday said the BJP officials’ comments were “contrary to moral and humanitarian values and principles”. The ministry underlined the “need for respecting religious symbols… and countering hate speech”, state news agency WAM reported.

Earlier, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other Muslim-majority countries in and outside the Gulf region condemned the comments by the BJP members.

On Sunday, Qatar demanded a “public apology” from New Delhi for the comments, as India’s Vice President Venkaiah Naidu visited the gas-rich nation in a bid to bolster trade.

In a statement, Qatari Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi said the BJP officials’ remarks “would lead to incitement of religious hatred, and offend more than two billion Muslims around the world”.

It added that Doha is expecting “a public apology and immediate condemnation of these remarks” from the Indian government.

“The Islamophobic discourse has reached dangerous levels in a country long known for its diversity and coexistence. Unless officially and systemically confronted, the systemic hate speech targeting Islam in India will be considered a deliberate insult against two billion Muslims,” Qatar’s Assistant Foreign Minister Lolwah al-Khater tweeted.

Iran followed Qatar and Kuwait by summoning the Indian ambassador to protest in the name of “the government and the people”, state news agency IRNA said late on Sunday.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 8, 2022 at 7:04pm

India-Gulf row: Why Modi is in a double bind
CJ Werleman
8 June 2022 10:52 UTC | Last update: 15 hours 36 secs ago
After anti-Islam comments by senior officials, the Indian president must placate Middle Eastern leaders while quietly continuing to support his party’s vilification of Muslims

For those familiar with Indian politics, the past week has been profoundly revelatory, marking the first time India’s ruling party has been caught embarrassed by its systematic mistreatment of its Muslim minority since riding into office on the back of a muscular Hindu nationalist agenda in 2014.

At the centre of Modi’s international diplomatic discomfort are moves by Gulf states to denounce and condemn his party for insulting the Prophet. In addition, Indian envoys in Qatar, Kuwait and Iran were summoned for a private scolding, while supermarkets in several Gulf states removed Indian products from their shelves. Social media hashtags calling for an economic boycott against India trended on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

To all this, Indian journalist Rana Ayyub commented: “Iran, Saudi Arabia and Qatar speaking in one voice. When was the last time the world witnessed this? Modi hai to mumkin hai [translated: Modi made this possible].”

The Indian government has responded by suspending the officials who made the derogatory remarks - and for the first time in the country’s 75-year history, it issued a statement to a foreign country (or in this case, a group of Muslim-majority countries under the umbrella of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation).

“India was taken aback by the response,” Kabir Taneja, a fellow with the Observer Research Foundation think tank, told CNN. “Communal issues are not new in India and in previous cases, we have not had such a response [from Arab states].”

Turning a blind eye
But it’s hardly surprising the Modi government has been caught off-guard here, given that Arab states have willingly turned a blind eye to any number of India’s persecutory actions against Muslims, including an amnesty law offering citizenship rights only to non-Muslim migrants; bans on students wearing the hijab; discriminatory laws premised on anti-Muslim conspiracies; support for economic boycotts against Muslim-owned businesses; and revocation of Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status.

Arab Gulf governments have also remained tight-lipped as members of Modi’s party have other-ised Muslims as “termites,” “pests” and “terrorists”, while Hindu nationalist groups allied with the BJP have urged their supporters to commit a Muslim genocide - a plea now heard on a near-daily basis. They have also said nothing as Muslims have been lynched, and their homes, businesses and mosques vandalised, by radicalised mobs in broad daylight, and often in the presence of police.

Nevertheless, these governments and Islamic leaders in the Middle East now have Modi’s undivided attention, particularly those calling for “all Muslims to rise as one nation” against India - a plea made by Oman’s chief religious figure, Grand Mufti Sheikh Ahmad bin Hamad Al-Khalili, who also announced a boycott of Indian products.

While the Modi government was able to strike an indignant tone against the United States, accusing it of indulging in “votebank politics” after the Biden administration accused New Delhi of mistreating its religious minorities earlier this month, it knows it must be far more conciliatory towards Arab Gulf countries, given that around two-thirds of India’s crude oil imports flow from the Middle East.

But the spigot is not the only potential pinch point. A bigger issue is the millions of Indian expatriates who live and work across the Gulf states, putting at risk the tens of billions of dollars India receives in remittances from its citizens in these countries.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 8, 2022 at 7:05pm

India-Gulf row: Why Modi is in a double bind
CJ Werleman

Massive political crisis
If Arab Gulf countries were even to threaten the deportation of Indian migrants, or a halt on visas for Indian workers, it would create a massive political crisis for the Modi government - at a time when it can least afford it, given the Indian economy has struggled to grow and a fuel price shock is hitting millions.

According to one Indian observer, India’s trade relationship with Gulf countries bears two-fold significance: oil dependency and a potentially large export market for India. India's bilateral trade with all six GCC group countries, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia, has increased significantly in 2021-22 with Indian exports to the GCC increasing by over 58 percent reaching $44bn.

Ultimately, this leaves Modi trapped in a double bind. On the one hand, he knows he must walk back his party’s hostility towards Muslims to appease India’s Arab Gulf partners. On the other, he’s acutely aware that the BJP’s efforts to scapegoat and vilify Muslims have helped him and his party to evade responsibility for an economy reeling from Covid and inflation.

“To keep winning elections, it needs to keep polarising Hindu voters against Muslims, and spinning ever more outrageous campaigns to demonise Muslims,” said Debasish Roy Chowdhury, coauthor of To Kill A Democracy: India’s Passage to Despotism.

This is why Modi will walk this tightrope by speaking out of both sides of his mouth, telling Middle Eastern leaders what they want to hear, while quietly offering his full support to those within his party who insult the Prophet Muhammad and abuse Muslims.


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