The Indian community in the UAE represents a mini India in its diversity, says Consul General Sanjay Verma.
In an interview with GN Focus he explains how Indians are not only part of the great nation building process of their matrbhumi or motherland but also of the UAE, their karmabhumi — the nation where they have chosen to make a living.
Could you share with us key investments from 2012? Is one sector seeing more growth compared to others?
“Bilateral investments have seen a renewed interest. Just to give you two examples — the Sobha Group is developing a mixed–use project called Sobha City [in Meydan, Dubai] and recently, Zuari Agro Chemicals Limited signed an agreement with Ras Al Khaimah Maritime City to set up a fertiliser manufacturing plant worth $800 million (Dh2.93 billion). Anecdotally, I may add that it was said that the early Indians came here empty-handed and built successful businesses. Today, the Indian entrepreneur is said to bring his own capital and then builds on that base.”
How important are investments by non-resident Indians (NRIs) in India?
“NRIs and NRI businesses based in the UAE are organically linked to India. In 2012, Dubai-based DM Healthcare announced investments of over $400 million in the health-care sector. The Sharjah-based KEF Holdings announced investments close to $300 million in the industrial and hospitality sectors. The Indian real estate market has been a perennial and a favourite investment option for NRIs.”
What are the consulate’s plans for this year?
“We will focus on furthering our economic and commercial interest in the northern Emirates. We are encouraging the newly constituted Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC) in Ras Al Khaimah and will look to establishing IBPCs in Ajman and Fujairah as well. Dubai and Sharjah already have their respective IBPCs.”
How does your work at the Indian Consulate vary from that of the other diplomatic missions and posts?
“The Indian Consulate in Dubai has more than 1.4 million Indian nationals in its consular jurisdiction, which makes it among the busiest Indian diplomatic posts worldwide.”