India at Expo 2020
In two days, we will witness India's soft power quotient on full display at the Expo 2020 Dubai Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

As Expo 2020 Dubai gets underway, India is the country to watch out for. As the largest participant, India has a mammoth 8,750 square metre, state-of-the-art pavilion at the Expo all greared up to receive visitors from around the globe.

Conceived as a hi-tech pavilion, the reputation sits perfectly well with India’s standing as the world’s leading technology hub. Be it the country’s burgeoning innovation culture or Narendra Modi government’s firm focus on technology transactions, India has maintained its stature as the world’s next Silicon Valley. And some of this innovation is going to be rolled out at Expo 2020 Dubai.

For beginners, more than half the Indian states are participating at the India pavilion at the Expo, which brings the best of what the world has to offer.

With as many as 192 country pavilions in total, and up to 60 live events a day, the Expo offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore humanity’s most pressing challenges.

India at Expo 2020
India at the Expo: It’s one of the pavilions that will not be dismantled when Expo 2020 ends Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Key to the event with its exhibits of culture, food and business opportunities spanned over the next 6 months, India has its itinerary fully worked our for the next 182 days.

“India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai will showcase resurgent India’s march to becoming a $5 trillion economy. India’s exceptional fightback against COVID-19 and the country’s emergence as a global business hub presenting huge opportunities for the world will be the overarching theme of India’s participation at Expo 2020 Dubai,” BVR Subrahmanyam, Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, noted.

India’s civilizational connect

With the Expo broadly conceptualised through five main tracks — Build Bridges, Leave No One Behind, Live in Balance, Thrive Together and UAE Vision 2071, India’s single biggest draw at Expo 2020 Dubai will be its civilizational connect.

With its exports like Yoga, Ayurveda, literature, arts, heritage, culinary practices, sports and much more, India aims to walk together with the world to solve its most immediate challenges.

Showcasing its 75-year old journey as the world’s largest democracy, the Indian pavilion’s façade at Expo has been designed to turn into a screen where selected stories of the ‘constant change’ and ‘timeless endurance’ - of what is quintessentially India - would be highlighted.

“We are among the few (countries) that have a permanent pavilion so it will be a footprint in Dubai forever after this over and is a permanent asset for India in a major trading nation. Dubai is good for business, India is open for business. It’s a nice confluence ...Everybody will be available on that campus (Expo site),” BVR Subrahmanyam added.

Sustainability, special bonds

As one of the word’s least wasteful economies, India has a lesson or two to offer the world. “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,” Pavan Kapoor, Ambassador of India to UAE, revealed.

Already the UAE is one of India’s largest trading partners in the world and UAE continues to be India’s second largest export destination (after the US).

“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,” the Ambassador said.

expo 2020
The Indian pavilion is set to be one of the major landmarks at the Expo Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Benefiting from ideas

Expatriate Indians constitute a third of the UAE’s population. With a 3.5 million strong diaspora here, Indians play a huge role in the economic development of the UAE. Apart from doing well in private and commercial business, Indians have excelled as artists, entrepreneurs, academics, and members of the UAE civil society.

“We want to showcase India as a land of innovation, knowledge and heritage and art. We want people to realise that India is a country which is moving forward in terms of innovation and creativity. It is one of the largest start-up ecosystems in the world. India is a country, literally with a billion ideas. So, the world can benefit from these ideas. And India can benefit by engaging with the world, and Expo will catalyse that,” Dr Aman Puri, Consul General of India, Dubai, remarked.

With the Indian pavilion set to be a major landmark at the Expo, visitors should be geared for an immersive experience.

“I had to keep thinking of Expo and beyond. It’s not one of the pavilions that at the end of the Expo will be dismantled, it’s here to stay. We planned early so it has a legacy built into it, The design is flexible in case the lower floor is used for offices and the top floor for something else.

I thought what if I have to open the blocks on the top and keep the ones below closed depending on what purpose the building serves post-Expo," Dikshu Kukreja, managing principal at CP Kukreja Architects, noted.

The essence of India’s soft power reflects in the country’s core identity that dates back several millennia. In two days, we will witness the soft power quotient on full display at Expo 2020 Dubai.