A combination of pictures showing artist’s impression about the final look of the India pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai
A combination of pictures shows artist’s impression of the final look of the India pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. Image Credit: Supplied

  • Excitement builds as India’s Dh250-million ($68 million, INR4.95 billion) national pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai is set to be completed soon
  • Main structure is expected to be completed by March 31, 2021
  • Pavilion to showcase India’s ‘5 Ts — Talent, Trade, Tradition, Tourism and Technology
  • Success stories of expats will also be featured
  • New design unveiled with the image of Mahatma Gandhi’s face displayed on the first two facades
  • Adjacent plaza is now nearing completion

Dubai: India’s pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai will have a new look. The facade of the main building has been tweaked to give a modern touch. When the world’s biggest party finally kicks off in October in Dubai, India’s 4,800 sqm national pavilion will showcase new technology, and its “5 Ts”. Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor told Gulf News: “It will look different from the outside when completed.”

“A lot of things will be digital projection…The outer surface will be a special one, which will make it convenient for projections,” he said without elaborating on the technology.


Number of countries participating in the Dubai Expo 2020

What are the changes?

An artist’s rendering of the final design of the pavilion, which also includes a two-storey plaza next to the main building, shows Mahatma Gandhi’s face displayed on the façade of the four-storey main building. Earlier, a statue of the Father of the Nation had been planned at the entrance.

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The initial design of the facade of the rectangular building, unveiled in August 2019, had green trees branching out and their leaves covering the building. In the new design, two sides of the building, including the main entrance, are shown with the facade covered with multi-coloured rectangle panels. The other two sides are covered with glass panels. The image of Gandhi’s face is displayed on the first two facades and an Indian flag will be erected in front of the building.

A lot of things will be digital projection…The outer surface will be a special one which will make it convenient for projections.

- Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor

It is not immediately clear if the multi-coloured panels, on which Gandhi’s image can be seen, are part of the projection or the final design. The structure and facade of the plaza are unchanged in the final design.

When will it be completed?

The construction is progressing fast, with the main structure scheduled to be completed by March 31, 2021. An adjacent plaza is also nearing completion, based on the pictures from the construction site shared with Gulf News. The Indian government’s representatives from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and its industry partner for the Expo, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), along with the Ambassador and the Consul General of India in Dubai Dr Aman Puri, recently visited the site.

Speaking to Gulf News, Dilip Chenoy, secretary-general, FICCI, who was part of the Indian delegation, said: “The structure of the pavilion would be complete by March 31. The interiors will take some more time.” Kapoor said the external cladding would also be fixed a little later. Chenoy said the pavilion will be inaugurated after the certification by the authorities in Dubai.

Indian pavilion
Image Credit: Seyyed dela Llata / Gulf News

How will expats be involved?

The pavilion will celebrate everything about India and the organisers have assured that the Indian expats in the UAE will have a big role in making the pavilion lively and successful. The UAE is home to more than 3.3 million Indians; many of them are highly successful in various walks of life.

“The Indian diaspora has been present here for more than 50 years. Myriad extraordinary stories of Indian success and innovation will be staged in the pavilion. We will have some digital projections of such stories of Indian expats who have made a difference here,” said Chenoy.

He hoped that in partnership with different organisations in the UAE and India, FICCI would be able to excite people to come to the pavilion every day. “There would be different events every day throughout the Expo.”

What events/festivals will be celebrated in the pavilion?

There will be big celebrations of festivals and national days of importance that fall during the Expo — such as Diwali, UAE National Day, Indian Republic Day and Holi — in the pavilion. While success stories of individuals and business groups will be featured, community groups and associations would be given opportunities to present cultural programmes.

Kapoor said every Indian state will be represented at the pavilion. “When the states come with their exhibits, we will try and include the participation of the local community groups from each state. We will ensure that different elements of the local community will be incorporated to the extent possible to have a local flavour to the events.”

How are other stakeholders involved?

Darpan Jain, joint secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Dr. Gunveena Chaddha, assistant secretary general, FICCI, were also part of the Indian delegation. The Indian Embassy said the visiting team had discussions with Omar Shehadeh, chief international participants officer, Expo 2020 and Nasser Fakhro, country manager, India, Expo 2020 and with the team of National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) and City Diamond Contracting (CDC), the contractor building the Indian pavilion. The embassy also deliberated with key stakeholders in the UAE to reaffirm their partnership in contributing to the success of the India pavilion at Expo 2020.

Who are the local companies and community groups involved?

The delegation interacted with key stakeholders such as:

  • Tata Group
  • Lulu Group
  • GEMS Group
  • Landmark Group
  • Conares
  • Lals Group
  • RP Group
  • SFC Group
  • ITL Cosmos

Interactions were also held with business and professional bodies such as Indian Business and Professional Group (IBPG), Abu Dhabi, Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC), Dubai and Persons of Indian Origin Chambers of Commerce and Industries (PIOCCI). Several other meetings with educational institutions, and representatives of BAPS Hindu Mandir, Abu Dhabi also took place, the embassy said.

How will it take India-UAE ties to next level?

Various forms of support are set to ensure that there is not only a strong local flavour imparted to the Indian participation at the Dubai Expo, but also a lasting contribution to the trade and investment relationship between India and UAE that goes well beyond the Expo.

At the headquarters and manufacturing plants of Indian steel manufacturer Conares, Kapoor said: “We have planned to showcase some great activities and programmes as our country’s achievements and diversity at the Expo. The India pavilion will also play a key role to make significant progress in several existing areas of cooperation between India and the UAE in addition to exploring new opportunities.”

“Historically, the UAE and India share a special bond. The Indo-UAE bilateral relationship will witness another phase of development with India’s massive presence in the Expo. Both the nations are moving in positive directions. The UAE looks at India seriously, and positive interactions will benefit both the countries and the people,” he added.

How will it promote India?

Chenoy said the pavilion will open up huge opportunities for the world to engage with India as a nation of multiple resources and innovations in arts and cultures, industrial manufacturing, knowledge-based capabilities, economic growth, traditional properties and the great Indian cuisine. “The pavilion also will initiate seamless possibilities of investing in India for visitors of the Expo and investors from around the world.”

Extending his support for the success of the India pavilion, Bharat Bhatia, founder and CEO of Conares, said: “This is the best opportunity for India to tell its extraordinary stories of diversity and economic growth to the world. We all are proud of being part of this journey. Moreover, India will bring its popular industry events to the show, and together they will make the best of India at the World Expo in Dubai.”

4,800 sqm

area of the India pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai

What are the other highlights of the pavilion?

Spread in an around 4,800-sqm plot, the India pavilion is located in the Opportunity district of the Expo 2020 site and it is close to the pavilions of the UAE and Japan. Other country pavilions in the vicinity are those of Italy and the USA.

The India Pavilion carries the theme “Future is in India.” Building on India’s culture, heritage and technologies, including its space programme, the pavilion will reflect ‘new India’ and show the strengths of its human resources and youth’s aspirations.

There will be holographic displays highlighting the country’s growth story from Harappan civilization or Indus valley civilization — the earliest known urban culture of the Indian subcontinent — to modern India, it said.

The pavilion aims to help the visitors discover a new, dynamic India built on diversity and full of opportunities for all, explore art installations displaying India’s space story and enjoy food festivals, literary shows, music and dance reflecting India’s cultural diversity.

Global power through five Ts

It will be a place that will define the country’s potential to become a global power through its ‘Five Ts’ – Talent, Trade, Tradition, Tourism and Technology. The pavilion will show the face of an India rising on the three pillars of opportunity, sustainability and mobility — a nation ready to lead the world’s future.

The pavilion is also expected to reflect contemporary India through its economic sectors, excellence in research and innovation across its various states, start-ups, youth power and the country’s contribution on the world stage, the details given on the website added.

Dh 250 m

estimated cost of the India national pavilion

In September 2019, India’s minister for Commerce, Industry and Railways Piyush Goyal had officially unveiled the first design of the pavilion, the cost of which is expected to be Dh250 million. Several Indian businessmen had then pledged to financially support the construction of the pavilion, which had begun in October 2019 just before the UAE visit of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In February 2020, India appointed Navdeep Singh Suri, a recipient of the UAE’s Order of Zayed II honour, and Kapoor’s predecessor as the Indian Ambassador to the UAE, as the Co-Chair of the Expo 2020 Dubai Committee.

India is credited as the birthplace of a number of objects, concepts, inventions and discoveries, including the games of snakes and ladders and chess (originally called Chaturanga), buttons, shampooing, the number pi, diamond mining, the concept of ‘zero’, algebra, trigonometry, and the discovery of water on the moon in association with NASA — the pavilion’s details on the site highlighted.

Expo 2020 Dubai and UAE’s 50th anniversary

  • Expo 2020 Dubai is a World Expo that’s going to be hosted by Dubai in the UAE.
  • It coincides with the UAE’s 50th anniversary in 2021, marking an important milestone for the UAE.
  • It runs from October 1, 2021, and until March 31, 2022
  • More than 200 participants — including countries, companies, international organisations and educational institutions — and millions of visitors, as it showcases ideas and innovations with the potential to shape the future of humanity.
  • More than 200 participants — including countries, companies, international organisations and educational institutions — are expected, with millions of visitors, as it showcases ideas and innovations with the potential to shape the future of humanity.
  • Expo 2020 Dubai is the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, and the first to be hosted by an Arab nation.
The Wasl dome, at the centre of the Dubai Expo 2020, has been completed as of January 2020.

Getting there

The Expo 2020 site spans 4.38 square kilometers and is located in the Dubai South district, close to Al Maktoum International Airport and within easy reach of Dubai International Airport, Abu Dhabi International Airport and Dubai and Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminals.

By car, it will take you 40 minutes to reach the Expo site from Downtown Dubai. You can also use the Dubai Metro. Expo 2020 will have its own dedicated Dubai Metro Station on the route 2020 line, with carriages capable to transporting 40,000 passengers per hour to and from the site.

Who regulates World Expos?

The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) is the intergovernmental organisation that regulates and oversees World Expos, preserving the core values of education, innovation and cooperation on behalf of its 170 member states. It was founded in 1928.

The last Expo took place in 2015 in Milan. Its theme was ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’. It focused on nutrition and food. It was the second time the city hosted a World Expo, with the first being in 1906.

Expo history

The first World Expo was London’s Great Exhibition of 1851. Since then World Expos have been held in many countries around the world organized around a theme that attempts to improve our knowledge in arts, culture, science and technology.

World Expo is organised every five years and last for six months. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Expo 2020 Dubai was deferred for a year.

When did Dubai win the Expo?

On November 27, 2013, the UAE was elected as the host country of World Expo 2020 during the 154th General Assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE). This was the outcome of the voting of the 164 nation members. Dubai won by a resounding majority of 116 votes, leaving behind its contestant Yekaterinburg in Russia with only 47.

Expo 2020 Dubai theme
Each Expo revolves around its own theme to leave a lasting impact on the path of human progress.
• Expo 2020 Dubai’s theme is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability are the sub-themes of Expo 2020.
• Opportunity is unlocking the potential for individuals and communities to shape the future.
• Mobility is to create smarter and more productive movement of people, goods and ideas, both physically and virtually.
• Sustainability is respecting and living in balance with the world we inhabit.

What will happen after the six months of the Expo?

  • More than 80 per cent of Expo 2020 Dubai’s infrastructure will have practical value long into the future as part of District 2020. For example, the Al Wasl Plaza will remain.
  • The sustainability pavilion Terra will remain in legacy as a Science Centre that will inspire sustainable choices for generations to come.
  • The mobility pavilion will become a commercial building. The UAE pavilion will also remain and will be managed by the UAE government. District 2020 will have these and other assets of the Expo.
  • It will become the city of the future, a home for innovators, families, artists and pioneers. The handover date of District 2020 will be October 2021.