KOCHI, India ,1st May, 2018 (WAM) -- Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance has said that he supports strongly a close and continuing relationship between India and the United Arab Emirates.
He was speaking at the launch of India’s largest convention centre and third Grand Hyatt hotel in Kochi, Kerala, India, which was developed by the UAE-based retail conglomerate, Lulu Group International.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister of Kerala, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, Sheikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al-Khalifa, Bahrain's Deputy Prime Minister, Yusuffali MA, chairman of Lulu group along with ambassadors of UAE, KSA, Bahrain & Georgia and other dignitaries.
The Minister said: "My presence in this event is another sign of the growing strength of the friendship between the two countries."
"Our international interaction here will reinforce notably historic actions of the past thirty-two months, that is, the two visits by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi to the UAE and the visit by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces to India as Chief Guest at the Indian Republic Day celebration."
Sheikh Nahyan went on to say that as the UAE’s Minister of Tolerance, "I take great pleasure in the state of Kerala’s impressive tolerance achievements."
The full text of Sheikh Nahyan's speech follows:
Good Morning to You All:
I am delighted to be with you this morning in India. The natural beauty of Kerala is awe inspiring. One visit is enough for any traveler to understand why National Geographic named Kerala one of their ten paradises of the world. Their photographs, while beautiful, do not do your state justice. I find the lush greenery and gorgeous backwaters especially attractive and very appealing.
Kerala is indeed a most beautiful setting for the most educationally and socially successful state in India. Although many of us in the United Arab Emirates have not yet been able to visit Kerala, all of us know outstanding people from Kerala. More natives of this state live and work in the UAE than in any other place in the world outside of India itself. I feel very much at home here as Malayalam is regularly heard in the UAE, although I confess being unable to distinguish between its many spoken dialects.
Every day we Emiratis and people from some 200 other nations who populate my country have the opportunity to appreciate the intelligence, knowledge, skill, reliability, diligence, tolerance, and entrepreneurship that distinguish the citizens of Kerala working in the UAE. They are quick to smile and exhibit a joyful spirit. They are a pleasure to work with and have contributed immensely to the development and success of the United Arab Emirates.
In particular, my dear friend Yusuff Ali and the Lulu Group International have played a critical role in our development. Approximately one-third of all food retailed in the UAE is sold through the Lulu Hypermarkets. Our President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in 2015 honored Yusuff Ali with the Sheikh Khalifa Excellence Award. We all know Lulu where the UAE comes to shop.
Like the people of Kochi who flock to their Lulu Mall, the biggest shopping mall in India, we UAE shoppers at Lulu are not surprised by this monumental construction on Bolgatty Island. This convention center is destined to become a jewel in the crown of Kerala’s tourism industry. It will help to define Kerala as a destination for both tourist and business travel. The extraordinary Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty and this superb Lulu International Convention Center are of a piece with Yusuff Ali’s global vision and his conviction that (and I quote): "Business is not just about money, products, or services; it’s about people."
As the UAE’s Minister of Tolerance, I take great pleasure in the state of Kerala’s impressive tolerance achievements. You were the first state to achieve 100% primary education, you have the highest literacy rates in the country, you have medical and banking facilities in every village, you have the lowest infant mortality rate in India, and you also have the lowest poverty rates. Kerala is clearly a state that loves it people and is committed to improving their lives in sustainable ways. I see Yusuff Ali’s drive to help with the development of his home state and the opportunities available to all people. I can only imagine the deep satisfaction he must feel at the progress signified by today’s event.
Therefore, like my brother His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, I am not surprised to be among so many illustrious representatives of the Indian people today. To be sure, the presence of the Honorable Chief Minister of Kerala along with his cabinet colleagues and Honorable Ministers from the Government of India, Honorable Members of the Parliament, Honorable Members of the Legislative Assembly and other political and religious leaders your impressive presence at today’s inauguration validates Yusuff Ali’s achievement and its importance to the future of Kerala and India. Thank you all for the opportunity to join you on this very special occasion. I bring to you today the greetings and best wishes of your friends in the United Arab Emirates.
In fact, I can assure you that many people from the UAE will travel eagerly to Bolgatty Island in the future. That will be another sign of the growing strength of the friendship between the Republic of India and the United Arab Emirates. Our international interaction here will reinforce notably historic actions of the past thirty-two months, that is, the two visits by the Honorable Prime Minister of India, His Excellency Narendra Modi to the UAE and the visit by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to India as Chief Guest at the Indian Republic Day celebration.
And, of course, the continued presence of the outstanding citizens of Kerala living and working in the United Arab Emirates will ensure the strength of the understanding and affection between our two nations. Keralites in the UAE are vital to our economy and our society. I know that today’s man of the hour, Yusuff Ali, is proud of them, just as they justifiably count him as one of their country’s most illustrious global leaders. May this inauguration of the Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty and the Lulu International Convention Centre convey our gratitude and admiration of the man responsible for it.
Thank you for the privilege of sharing this marvelous moment with you all. Like all of you, I support strongly a close and continuing relationship between India and the United Arab Emirates. And I wish you and all the people of Kerala, and all the people of India, continued prosperity, progress and well-being in the years to come.