UAE to Open Consulate in State
By Express News Service | Published: 12th January 2014 08:56 AM |
Setting the ground to open new vistas in the historical relations between Kerala and the Gulf region, the United Arab Emirates on Saturday has formally announced establishing a Consulate in the state capital.
Mohamed Sultan Al Owais, Ambassador of the UAE made the announcement here. The UAE Consulate - the second in the country after Mumbai - is expected to start functioning within two months. The Ambassador felt that with the creation of the Consulate, UAE nationals will visit Kerala in large numbers. “It will be a boost to tourism when more UAE nationals will reach here. The Consulate will also foster commercial ties in a big way,” he said.
“This will be a beginning, to enable more co-operation between the two countries. The UAE Government is thankful to the Union and State Governments for extending all help,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that the state was extremely gratified and honoured with the decision of the UAE Government. “A large number of Keralites are working in the UAE region, in an atmosphere as if they are working in their home country,” he noted.
Chandy said that with the opening of the Consulate, more investment would flow to Kerala and a host of services, including visas, would also be offered.
“Kerala and UAE have close ties in trade and commerce. It is the Dubai Port which is operating Kerala’s prestigous Vallarapdam project. The dream project of Smart City is also sponsored by the Dubai Government,” Chandy pointed out. Chandy lauded local MP and Union MoS for HRD Shashi Tharoor, who was also present, to the hilt on the occasion. “He did a lot when he was in the Ministry of External Affairs, to persuade the UAE Govt to start a Consulate here. I’m quite aware of that,” he said.
Shashi Tharoor said that it was a historical moment for both the UAE and India. “The Consulate will not only benefit Keralites working in the UAE, but will bring more UAE nationals here. It will lead to the reinforcement of ties between the two countries,” he said. “Once the UAE Consulate starts functioning, more Gulf countries will come here and set up Consulates,” he hoped.
The Union Minister disclosed that a Consulate of Sri Lanka will also be announced in T’Puram in three weeks time. UAE-based Indian businessman M A Yusafali, who had also played a crucial role for the sanctioning of the Consulate by using his closeness with the government there, was quite optimistic that more UAE investment would come to the state by virtue of the facility. “The Consulate will also help monitoring of investments already made in the ongoing projects,” he added.
NORKA minister K C Joseph said that it was for the first time that a prominent country was opening a Consulate in the state.
At present,the only Consulate functioning here is that of Maldives.