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V. Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs, Govt. of India with Consul General Dr Aman Puri visiting India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. Photo: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News Image Credit:

Dubai: Expo 2020 Dubai will be the global fair most visited by Indians in the history of 150 years of the World Expo, a visiting Indian minister said on Wednesday.

V. Muraleedharan, India’s Minister of State for External Affairs, said this to the media after touring the India Pavilion.

The UAE is home to an estimated 3.4 million Indians and the India Pavilion itself attracted more than 128,000 visitors in the first 25 days of the Expo.

The minister said the India Pavilion showcases India’s cultural diversity and also reflects the country’s progress in economic and technological sectors.

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V. Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs, Govt. of India with Consul General Dr Aman Puri visiting India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. Photo: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

“It portrays a ‘New India’ with a lot of opportunities for the youth and shows how India is becoming a global economic power. The pavilion will make every Indian be proud of his [or her] country’s development,” the minister said.

“This expo is also an avenue for India to project the international acceptance of yoga to the world,” he observed.

“Yoga has been accepted by the United Nations and the International Day of Yoga has been celebrated across the world over during the last seven years. It is a way of life which everyone feels is ideal for human being.”

Bilateral ties

Muraleedharan said India and the UAE have a long-term and deep bilateral relationship in various sectors and they are growing stronger with the Expo.

“Space technology is a new sector in which both the countries are working on. The UAE has achieved welcoming milestones in the sector. India has already made big progress in the sector. We hope both the countries will benefit from our collaborations in the space sector,” he said.

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V. Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs, Govt. of India with Consul General Dr Aman Puri visiting India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. Photo: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi Dialogue

The minister was in town to attend the Sixth Ministerial Consultation of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue.

The minister who spoke on contemporary issues related to migration at the event, said the Dialogue is more relevant today as the COVID-19 pandemic has affected migrants the most. “It is important that migrants are reintegrated into the workforce system.”

Muraleedharan said he was glad to take part in the Abu Dhabi Dialogue involving 12 labour-sending Asian countries and six host countries in the Gulf and was flying back after finalising the draft of the ministerial declaration.

“All the participating countries have agreed that there having a common policy giving importance to expat workers’ interests, welfare, wages and job protection is essential. Each of these countries will work towards that.”

“The agreement will recognise the sovereignty of each country and help them work in tandem by following the guidelines drafted through the dialogue.”

He said a consensus had been reached among the six host countries for giving priority to the welfare of all the workers, especially domestic workers including women. On the sidelines of the Dialogue, he said he held discussions with Ahmed al-Rajhi, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Human Resources and Social Development.

He said India will assist Indian workers for their skill development to get jobs in Saudi Arabia which aims to create a whopping four million jobs as part of Saudi Vision 2030 initiative.

Easing restrictions

In the wake of the decrease in the number of new COVID-19 cases, Muraleedharan said that he was optimistic that travel restrictions will be eased considerably in the coming days so that the migrant workers can travel.

Most workers return

He said the Indian government had taken measures to assist jobless workers returning home due to the impact of the pandemic.

“We have already made a lot of efforts in that. The government of India has already introduced a skill component whereby any person, who is returning and decides to be in India, can enter his skill capacity in the prescribed per forma which we have shared with the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. An employee-employer platform was created where the employers can utilise the data and the employees can be absorbed based on their skill sets.”

However, the minister said most of the migrant workers have returned to their country of residence.

“But my understanding is that many of them have already returned and many are planning to return and what I have gathered is that all the countries in the Gulf have opened up.”

During his visit to the UAE in January, Muraleedharan had announced that of the 1.3 million passengers who travelled from the UAE to India during the COVID-19 pandemic, almost 1.15 million had returned to the UAE.

On Wednesday, he reiterated that he would take up the issue of high airfare from India to the Gulf countries with India’s Civil Aviation Ministry.

Earlier on Tuesday, Muraleedharan also held a meeting with leaders of Indian expat community groups in Dubai and Northern Emirates.

The Indian Consulate in Dubai said Consul General of India in Dubai Dr Aman Puri received the minister at the consulate for an interactive session with the Indian organisation members and Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awardees in the UAE. He appreciated the continued support of Indian community members in building ‘New India, the mission said on Twitter.