PM Modi surely knows how to strike a chord with people.
The first thing he did after landing in Qatar on the second leg of his five nation tour did was not to meet Gulf leaders but to interact with Indian workers. He assured them that he will take up problems faced by them during his talks with leaders of the Gulf nation.
Addressing the workers at a downtown camp in Doha, Modi said he is aware of the issues being faced by Indian workers and the companies that bring them there.
During his 30-minute stay at the camp, Modi shook hands and interacted with workers and shared refreshments with them. He applauded the workers and expressed his gratitude towards them and said, “When someone from our nation comes, who speaks our language, knows of our land, we want to ask them how they are, know them.”
In his speech, he also asserted that India’s global image is not made by its Prime Minister or its Ambassador but through the behaviour of India’s workers here who earn the nation a good name.
Not only that, he also enquired about the health problems being faced by the workers and found that counselling and diabetes were the two main issues of concern. “Do work hard, but while doing so, please do focus on keeping your health and body fighting fit.”
This is what he tweeted after his meeting with workers:
Smiles and snacks in Doha…my first programme in Qatar was a visit to a Workers’ Camp in downtown Doha. pic.twitter.com/vgQwZdZssX— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 4, 2016
The workers in return were touched after this gesture and many were teary-eyed after meeting him.
Workers from India usually migrate to Gulf and Middle East nations in search of better opportunities, but of late, migrant abuse and exploitative working conditions have been on a rise, leading to a series of deaths of workers. According to figures released by Amnesty, 279 Indian migrant workers died in Qatar in 2014.
The Indian diaspora of over 630,000 form the largest expatriate community in Qatar and constitutes a substantial percentage of the country’s population. At present, a number of Indian companies are also involved in construction activities related to the FIFA World Cup being hosted by Qatar in 2022.
Considering Qatar is an important trading partner for India in the Gulf region and also one of India’s key sources of crude oil, Modi’s visit to the country is seen as an important step for strengthening bilateral relations.