During his KT visit, Vipul discussed a wide range of issues that have been affecting the Indian diaspora.
The success of Dubai Expo 2020 will be India’s success, too, according to Consul-General of India to Dubai Vipul. “Since the Indian community is the largest in the UAE, it becomes our responsibility to ensure the success of Dubai Expo 2020,” he said during his visit to Khaleej Times on Monday.
Commenting on the ongoing construction of the Dh250-million Indian pavilion on the Expo grounds, Vipul said: “Built over 4,800 square metres, the shell and core of the pavilion will be completed by March 2020. It will cover Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability as the main themes.
“Both the Indian state and central ministries will be participating, along with private entities.
It will also showcase the Indian culture in a big way.”
During his KT visit, Vipul discussed a wide range of issues that have been affecting the Indian diaspora. He met with Suhail Galadari, Director of Galadari Brothers, and Yahya Kazi, Director and Group CEO of Galadari Brothers, ahead of his interaction with senior editors and reporters of Khaleej Times.
“Even though I have come fairly late in my tenure here, we have been working together in terms of stories. (We have been) giving the consulate’s inputs on various matters concerning the Indian community,” said Vipul.
Changes through the years
The envoy looked back on how the dynamics of the Indian diaspora have changed through the years. “In the year 2003-04, there were only one million Indians in the UAE. Today, the consulate is catering to almost 3.3 million Indians,” said Vipul.
Channels for distress cases have evolved, he noted, and social media has become a powerful tool that connects consulate officers to Indian expats, especially those in distress. “There has been a paradigm shift in the way we resolve issues of Indians abroad, which was brought about by former Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj. We try and answer each and every query on social media, e-mails, phone, and on the online help portal Madad,” explained Vipul.
“We are using rules towards the benefit of the people, that is the approach we have. We have also helped a lot of people through the Indian Community Welfare Fund.”
He made a special mention of the work done by the consulate to resolve issues faced by seafarers. Some of the main issues that affect the Indian diaspora, according to Vipul, are companies going bankrupt and leaving employees stranded, and people with medical emergencies.
“There are also workers who don’t have their passports with them. Marital issues are also common. We provide them with psychological counselling and other services,” he said.
India-UAE exchange of prisoners
Commenting on the exchange of prisoners between India and the UAE, Vipul said the programme is still “a work in progress”. “An agreement between both countries was signed. There is a point person in an agency in India and one in the UAE,” he said. From the consulate, a survey was conducted among prisoners to gauge who is interested to return to India.
“Ultimately, the list has to be compiled by the UAE government authorities. While in some cases, some prisoners showed interest to return, especially those who have long prison terms, many prefer to stay, citing social stigma and better prison conditions.”
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