Abu Dhabi: The UAE will open its new Consulate General at Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of the southern Indian state of Kerala, on Wednesday (October 19), a senior official told Gulf News on Sunday.
“The Consulate will be opened in the presence of dignitaries from the UAE and India,” Jamal Hussain Al Zaabi, UAE Consul-General at Thiruvananthapuram, said on phone from there.
The new consulate will be the UAE’s third diplomatic mission in India after the embassy in New Delhi and the consulate general in Mumbai. This will be the fifth consulate of a foreign nation at Thiruvananthapuram.
Maldives has a full-fledged consulate in the city. Germany opened its honorary consulate on Friday. Russia and Sri Lanka already have honorary consulates there.
An honorary consulate has limited scope of functioning unlike a diplomatic mission. It is not represented by professional diplomats but someone working on a voluntary basis.
The announcement on the inauguration of the new UAE consulate is the latest development in the growing bilateral relations.
India announced on October 2 that His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, would be the chief guest on Indian Republic Day on January 26, 2017.
Prominent world leaders have been the chief guests on the Indian Republic Day, including US President Barack Obama (2015) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (2007). Shaikh Mohammad will be the most prominent Arab leader in recent years to be invited as the chief guest, after the late Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz in 2006.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first state visit to the UAE in August 2015 and Shaikh Mohammad’s reciprocal visit to India in February this year elevated the friendly relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
The new consulate is expected to be the UAE’s busiest diplomatic mission in India, given the fact that an estimated more than one million Keralites work in the UAE. People from two other Indian states — Tamil Nadu and Karnataka — can also easily access the new consulate.
Many Keralite jobseekers planning to move to the UAE said they have been waiting for the opening of the consulate to get their educational certificates attested. “I will be in Kerala by the end of this month on vacation. As I would like to seek a job in the UAE, I will get my certificates attested at the new consulate, said Afsal Mohammad, who currently works in Saudi Arabia.
Al Zaabi earlier served as the First Secretary at the UAE Embassy in Hanoi in Vietnam.
The UAE expressed its plan to open a consulate in Kerala in 2011, following a request from the Indian government and initiated by the Government of Kerala.