Dubai: The India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai is all set to display the emergence of a ‘New India’ to the world, officials said as they unveiled the pavilion during the first media tour on Wednesday.
“This is the first big in-person meeting we are looking at after the COVID-19 pandemic to show our dynamism and growth,” Pavan Kapoor, Indian Ambassador to the UAE, told media.
“We want to give a one-stop look at India. We want to showcase everything from space to other high tech areas and cities on the move...and give a glimpse of the rich culture and heritage of India.”
With India and the UAE launching formal negotiations for a comprehensive economic partnership agreement in New Delhi on Wednesday, he said efforts are underway to further boost the bilateral trade.
UAE-India trade, which stood at $60 billion (around Dh220.3 billion), had dipped to around $43 billion (around Dh157.9 billion) due to the impact of the pandemic, said Kapoor. With the Expo expected to boost the trade and investment opportunities significantly, he added that hopes are back to further push the bilateral trade to $100 billion (around Dh367 billion) over the next five years.
“This is a huge opportunity to meet with the rest of the world and to showcase the investment opportunities.”
India Innovation Hub
Kapoor said India is keen to focus on IT and start ups. “With over 50,000 startups in India we would like to offer them an amazing opportunity here,” said the Ambassador. For that, an ‘India Innovation Hub’ will be set up at the pavilion. “It will be a mobile platform where young, bright minds from India will engage with their global counterparts on a range of issues... space technologies, robotics, etc,” he added.
Touching on the cultural events and festival celebrations at the pavilion, Kapoor said: “We will have big celebrations of our important festivals here. Even the Expo authorities will be marking Diwali celebrations in a very big way.”
The ambassador added that Indians have heavily contributed to the world fair. When asked if Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Expo, the ambassador said it is unlikely that Modi would miss the mega event.
“I can’t confirm now. But this is such a big event. I don’t think he will want to miss the opportunity to visit the Expo,” he said.
There will be several shows related to 75 years of Indian independence and the Golden Jubilee of the UAE, he added. Given the role of the Indian expat community in the UAE, Kapoor said, their participation will be integral at the India Pavilion and stories of the expats will be told. Schools and community groups will be participating in the events throughout the Expo.
Being a ‘legacy building’ that will remain as a permanent structure, the India Pavilion will ultimately be used by the expat community, offering with some elements of business, culture, innovation and start ups, Kapoor said.
All Indian states will have participation at the pavilion over 26 weeks, said Dilip Chenoy, secretary-general of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, which is the industry partner of the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry for Expo 2020 Dubai.
“Five states are taking the lead for two weeks each and the rest are taking one week each,” he said. Chenoy added that apart from the daily cultural programmes, there will be screenings of award-winning movies in various Indian languages also.
Expecting huge footfall
Dr Aman Puri, Consul General of India in Dubai, said: ”Special programmes for students will be held. One such programme is where we will bring one student representative each from all the aspirational districts of India. They will be coming on December 2, for UAE’s 50 years’ celebration.”
He added: “The India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai will be one of the largest pavilions... It will attract possibly the largest number of visitors. It will showcase the diversity culture heritage knowledge and innovation. It will also showcase the startup ecosystem of India. As you know, India is the third largest creator of unicorns in the world. It is also the one of the most vibrant start up ecosystems of the world.”
Earlier in the day, the media was given a tour of the pavilion, which included an exclusive show on the facade. The facade of the India Pavilion turned into a massive projection platform where India’s people, places, wildlife and much more came alive. Landmark buildings, iconic heritage sites, and the most famous Indians from various fields were also portrayed. The audio-visual display captures India in its full essence.
India’s famous poets, scientists, sports persons including the Olympic winners were honoured on the facade screens at the India Pavilion.
What to expect
Manish Bardia, the digital content designer of the India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, told Gulf News that science and yoga are the focus of the pavilion’s entrance.
On the right is a display of various space missions by India. Using immersive technology and high-tech interactive touch-pads, visitors will get a peek into India’s ‘Mangalyan’ mission to the moon, various space vehicles and space programmes.
Massive audio-visual displays across the first floor introduce visitors to the endless colours of India where the country’s mesmerising art, culture and tourism landscapes are brought alive.
The ‘Sector’ floor has 12 screens. Thematic sectors will bring to the world what India has to offer in various sectors.
The theme for the second floor is ‘Never-ending Opportunities’. It is meant for the world to see the unlimited business opportunities that India has to offer through the sectors showcased, said Gunveena Chadha, Assistant Secretary-General, FICCI, who is also the pavilion director.
In a section called ‘Reasons to Visit India’, replicas and pictures of famous temples, heritage sites and tourist attractions are displayed. A mini replica of the world’s tallest statue, Statue of Unity - created as a tribute to the ‘Iron Man of India’, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel - is displayed here.
Another replica is that of the BAPS Hindu Mandir, the first Hindu temple coming up in Abu Dhabi.