The large number of Indian blue collar workers in Saudi Arabia on Saturday came in for much appreciation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the hard work they have put in for the development of the Gulf Kingdom.
"It is your sweat and toil that has brought me here," Modi, who arrived here earlier in the day, said while addressing workers of Indian engineering and infrastructure major L&T at their residential complex. "Your happiness is my happiness and when you are not happy, I also feel the pain," he said.
Modi told the workers 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.
The prime minister also told the workers that they have made India proud for the discipline they have shown in their work.
He assured the workers that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and the entire team of officials at the ministry were ready to help if any of them got into any trouble. He also highlighted the various steps taken by his government for the convenience of Indian workers abroad.
"There are forums like MyGov and Narendra Modi Mobile App through which you can reach me and I can communicate with you," he said.
Modi also said that the government was working to regularise migration, and also promised more Indian worker resource centres and a second 24/7 call centre.
Earlier, the workers gave Modi two safety helmets to sign, one of which they gave him and the other they kept with them.
Modi also shared a meal with the workers after his speech.
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.
Prior to this event, Modi addressed members of the Indian community and said that political stability was behind the economic growth story of India. "In a very short span of time, India has once again given rise to new expectations at the world stage," he said in a short speech.
Apart from a large number of blue collar workers, Indian doctors, teachers, engineers and managers have made immense contributions to Saudi Arabia's development, something that has been appreciated by the country's rulers on numerous occasions.
Indians in Saudi Arabia make an important contribution to their homeland sending around $10 billion in remittances every year.
Earlier on Saturday, Modi was received at the King Khalid International Airport by Governor of Riyadh Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz.
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 Manmohan Singh in 2010.
"Reached Saudi Arabia. I look forward to a productive visit that will strengthen our bilateral relations," Modi tweeted on arrival.
Ties between India and Saudi Arabia are expected to be further elevated from the current strategic partnership to a more broad-based one.
Apart from the community interactions on Saturday, Modi also visited the Masmak Fortress here which is a monument of historical importance for Saudi Arabia.
Saud bin Sultan bin Abdullah Al Saud, a member of the royal family and a researcher at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, accompanied him around. Modi will be accorded a ceremonial welcome on Sunday afternoon at the Royal Court here by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, who 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.
The prime minister will leave for India late Sunday afternoon.
Source: Khaleej Times