Abu Dhabi, Nov. 22 (ANI): Lauding the role of the expatriate community here in India's growth story, President Pratibha Devisingh Patil today asked them to be prepared to meet the changing needs of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Indian community in the UAE is 1.75 million strong and is the largest expatriate community in this country. The Gulf region is home to over five million-strong Indian Diaspora, which helps to strengthen India's multi-faceted ties with West Asia.
Remittances to India from the UAE in 2008-09 were about 12 billion dollars, accounting for a third of all money sent to India from the GCC countries.
"Over time, the profile of the Indian community in the Gulf is undergoing transformation. Large numbers of Indian skilled workers were employed in the UAE in the 1990s as a result of the construction boom, but more professionals in the fields of finance, banking, insurance and IT have gained employment in this friendly country," Patil told Indian expatriates at the India Social and Cultural Centre here.
The changing profile of the Indian community has contributed tremendously to the UAE economy, which is gaining momentum in the knowledge-based service sector.
"By providing highly skilled service at a competitive cost, your role has proved to be important for the UAE economy. Your sustained remittances over the years have contributed to the foreign exchange reserves of India. I would also like to mention that India is the biggest recipient of remittances by expatriates," she said.
"Despite the global economic downturn, the Indian economy has witnessed rapid and sustained growth rate. India offers a large and a growing market. The UAE is also going through a significant transformation. The space for India to play an increasing role in this transformation is widening," President Patil said.
"More employment avenues will open up in knowledge-based industries like IT, finance and insurance, as the UAE economy is bracing for a larger role by the service sector. I urge the Indian community to retune itself and remain responsive to the changing needs of this country," she added.
The UAE is a significant trading and energy security partner, and bilateral trade was valued at 43.4 billion dollar in 2009-10. In 2009-10, the UAE had emerged as India's top export destination, accounting for 13.41 per cent of the country's total exports. The country is also among the top five suppliers of crude oil to India. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)