DUBAI// India and the UAE share similar values and attitudes despite the former having a population "a hundred times" larger.
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, said the two nations easily identified with each other during an address to businessmen and members of the India Club in Dubai.
"In the UAE, people from many nations and holding a profusion of religious beliefs work together harmoniously. Men and women value each other for their contributions to the well-being of the society," Sheikh Nahyan said. "When we look across the Arabian Sea we identify a similar attitude towards similar conditions, though on a vastly larger scale. India deals with a population more than a hundred times larger than ours."
Sheikh Nahyan said the history of the club, a popular gathering point for the Indian diaspora for the past 48 years, reflected the "special relationship between India and the United Arab Emirates".
"Together we have witnessed the development of the UAE from a small beginning to its present status as one of the most modern, vibrant countries in the world," he added.
The India Club was officially inaugurated in 1964 on a plot of land gifted by Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the late ruler of Dubai.
The chairman, Ram Buxani, said the club and other projects were created with help of the country's founding fathers. "They used to take initiatives for community development. India Club and Indian High School are humble testimonials of that," he added.
The club, which hosts cultural, social and sporting events, celebrated its 48th anniversary in August.
There are about 1.75 million Indians in the UAE, the largest expatriate community.
Sheikh Nahyan said: "We all persist proudly in understanding and retaining our personal identity so shaped by our families, our ethnicity, our religion, our social and political history. That is a fundamental reason for having this club in Dubai."