An article published in the online news portal, Asia Times, has commented on the recent visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the UAE saying that there are a few things that Modi could learn from UAE's successful experience in ensuring the safety of women, religious tolerance and efficient law enforcement.
The article reiterated that the Indian Prime Minister's visit was of historical significance, not only because he was the first Indian PM to visit the UAE in 34 years, but also because of the overwhelming response he got from 50,000 Indians who came to hear him speak at the Dubai Cricket Stadium, braving the stifling August heat.
Under the title, "Few things Modi could learn from UAE on women's, religious and police issues," Amrita Mukherjee, an Indian freelance journalist who focuses on women and social issues in India, said that during the 8 years she spent living and working in Dubai, she saw that Indians living in UAE – from the labourers working at construction sites to professionals – were more disciplined, tolerant and respectful, something she said she missed once she returned back home.
The Indian expat population in the UAE have reached 2.6 million, the largest expat community in a country which also hosts residents of more than 150 nationalities, so, wrote Mukherjee, "When Modi said he could see a mini India in front of his eyes he was quite right about it."
To demonstrate the important role that the Indian community plays in the country, the writer quoted the Indian Embassy Community Portal as saying, "The Indian community has played a major role in the economic development of the UAE over the last 35 years. The Indian community is respected for its technical competence, sense of discipline and its minimal involvement in criminal activities compared to other expatriate communities."
"I think there are a few lessons for Modi to carry back home from UAE," she said.
In TripAdvisor's Cities Survey from 2012, Dubai was ranked the 7th safest city in the world and in the Safe Cities Index 2015 released by Economic Intelligence Unit Abu Dhabi occupies the 25th rank among 50 safest cities in the world.
"The same Indians who indulge in eve-teasing and molesting women in public places in India are extremely civilised in the UAE. In fact, with so many nationalities living together it is amazing how UAE continues to have a low crime rate," she said.
"Ask any Indian woman how safe they feel in the UAE they would vouch for it that they feel hundred times more safe in this foreign country while working in an office, driving around the cities, shopping at a mall or a roadside grocery or just hanging out with friends, than they would feel in their home country.
"That is why women live alone comfortably in UAE, and especially in Dubai, where I have lived all these years, a woman rarely has to watch over her shoulders whenever she steps out of her door and that might be at the oddest hour even," she added.
The author continued, "I had written my views on safety of women in Dubai in my blog. Almost all who visited the post agreed with my views on safety of women in Dubai."
On religious inclusiveness, the writer said that Modi might have been gifted a piece of land in Abu Dhabi to build the first temple in the Emirate but "Our PM should also know that Dubai has temples, churches and gurudwaras. The most frequented temple complex in Bur Dubai which has a Shiva temple (all other deities are also present here) and a Krishna Temple in the same complex was built way back in 1958."
"The complex also has a gurdwara but another one was built in Jebel Ali in 2012 to accommodate more people. There are a number of churches where regular prayers, events and congregations are held. Christmas Onam and Diwali are celebrated with equal fervour in Dubai.
"Most importantly although UAE is a Muslim country there is no discrimination in the name of religion and any kind of religious violence is unthinkable. The UAE is an example of how people from so many religions can live together in peace and harmony," she added.
On UAE police force commitment, the writer noted that "the police is extremely respected and that respect comes from their commitment to their duty. It is largely because of their constant and tireless vigil that the crime rate is kept under control."
She continued, "There was a grocery store right below my apartment building, where police, patrolling the city would often drop in to pick up food. The first thing I always noticed was they would hand out the money through the car window and then take the goods. Back in India I am usually used to seeing the police just picking up stuff and rarely bothering to pay. It is assumed that the police would get anything for free."
The respect police show women is also noteworthy, she said, explaining, "I got into a minor accident in March this year while returning from a friend's home with my five-year-old son. The police came to the spot in seconds, gave me my clearance slip that said I was not at fault and the policeman was extremely helpful and co-operative, telling me to look after my child while he would take care of the paperwork."
"I have come across extremely helpful policemen in India also but it is the general attitude, honesty and uprightness of Dubai Police that make them so feared and respected," the writer added.
About Indian's discipline in public spaces in the UAE, she said, "from driving in lane, not using unnecessary honking, to dumping garbage in the right places, Indians follow the rules in UAE. I guess it is the inevitability of heavy fines and punishment that keeps them in check."
The writer says that Modi's Swacch Bharat Project can definitely take a cue from the UAE experience, saying that another behaviour that is getting lost in India but is diligently followed by Indians in UAE is respect for neighbours and fellow travellers. "In a crowded metro, senior citizens or mothers with small children will never have to look for a seat. There will be plenty of people ready to give up their own. Respect for women, children and the elderly is a culture encouraged and followed diligently in the UAE," she concluded.