Welfare of Indian community is 'key concern for the UAE and New Delhi'

The new Indian ambassador to the UAE says community also plays a big part in furthering bilateral relations

Pavan Kapoor, the UAE's new Indian ambassador. Courtesy Pavan Kapoor Twitter
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The welfare of the UAE's Indian community, particularly the most vulnerable segment, is a top priority for both governments, India's ambassador to the UAE said.

At his first official engagement in Dubai after taking up the post last year, Pavan Kapoor addressed more than 150 people at the Indian consulate on Thursday.

Residents gathered to mark Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, which celebrates the contribution of Indians overseas to the development of their home country.

On January 9, 1915, Mahatma Gandhi returned to India from South Africa, before leading his country to independence.

"In the two months that I have been here I have sensed at every level – whether it's officialdom, royalty, business persons, investors – everybody is very positive about India," Mr Kapoor said.

"The governments of the two countries remain committed to making sure the welfare of Indians in the UAE continues to be a top priority." 

More than three million Indians live in the UAE and Mr Kapoor said that the community was a bridge between the Emirates and their home country.

He acknowledged the efforts of organisations and people who assisted the consular authorities in helping people.

"We are acutely aware of the fact it is the people at the lowest end of the pyramid of our community who are the most vulnerable," he said.

“They are the ones who need our greatest help. Many of them are, at times, in distress and we do what we can to help.”

He also said the community played a role in deepening ties between the nations.

“We rely on the community in a big way and will work with you to strengthen our bilateral relationship,” he said.

Mr Kapoor moved to the UAE from Israel, where he spent three years as India's ambassador. Before that, he was high commissioner in Maputo, Mozambique.

The UAE and India have grown closer in the past few years due to visits between leaders of both nations and deals in defence, ports, energy and security being signed.

On Thursday, Indian Consul General Mr Vipul said New Delhi's Indian Community Welfare Fund helped hundreds of people in need.

The fund was used to pay for hundreds of plane tickets home for vulnerable members of the Indian community such as those who travelled to the UAE but could not find a job. The fund also provided subsistence allowances to about 500 residents, including workers whose employers faced financial difficulties.

Mr Vipul said consular staff would also work with community volunteers in an effort to reduce the number of Indians who committed suicide while living overseas.

On Thursday, the consulate also announced a speedy passport renewal service that would allow residents to obtain a new document on the same day it was applied for.
Residents will be charged Dh570 for the service and will be required to submit their old passport before noon at the BLS passport application office at Al Khaleej Centre in Dubai.

About 850 applications for passports are processed every day by the Indian consulate in Dubai.