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UAE: Get Covid-19 vaccine, urges Indian envoy in Republic Day message

Abu Dhabi - Pavan Kapoor lauds role played by officials, community leaders and associations during pandemic.

By Ashwani Kumar​

Published: Tue 26 Jan 2021, 12:32 PM

Last updated: Tue 26 Jan 2021, 12:38 PM

Lauding the resilience of the Indian expat community in weathering a difficult 2020, Indian envoy assured there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Pavan Kapoor, Indian Ambassador to the UAE , marking India’s 72nd Republic Day at the Indian Embassy, recollected the sufferings of the people amid the pandemic and role played by the officials and community leaders and associations.

“People have endured and suffered a lot. I still remember when we had hundreds of people standing outside (the embassy) and saying we want to go home or asking for other help. But I think it is the support of our community associations, individuals and our officials, who all came together and did their best to alleviate their suffering. I know that many people here have lost their jobs and livelihoods. But I am glad to see that many people have come back. And we are working to ensure that more individuals will be able to come back,” Kapoor said in his address after hoisting the Indian national flag as the community members joined the ceremony virtually.

The ambassador reiterated that the embassy was “working closely” with the local authorities to sort out the issue on approvals from the UAE’s Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA).

“I know there are lots of people who are still wanting to come back here and get back to their jobs or friends and family. They are still awaiting ICA approvals. We are working closely with the UAE government authorities to see how we can assist. And we hope that as the economy picks up, more people will be able to come back.”

Kapoor urged the Indian community to join the national vaccination drive.

“I would encourage all of you to get vaccinated. We have to make sure that even after getting vaccinated, we don’t let our guards down. There are different variants of this virus, which still keeps coming up. So, please continue to maintain all the safeguards of social distancing, wearing masks at all times and continue to take precautions. This is still a bit of a way off although there is clearly light at the end of the tunnel.”

Kapoor underscored that throughout the pandemic, the bilateral relations continued to remain strong and cooperation was further enhanced in the areas of food security and healthcare.

“Throughout the period of the pandemic, particularly the initial phase, when there was concern that would food supplies in the UAE run short because they import 85 to 90 per cent of their food requirements. India made sure the airspace was completely open, and all permissions were given, so that food supplies from India kept coming here on a regular basis,” he said.

“In the area of healthcare, we had the UAE government give us a gift of PPE kits and other equipment. We are able to supply important medicines to them in the initial phases and then we were also able to send some healthcare workers to support the healthcare system in the UAE. This is a reflection of our comprehensive strategic partnership. We are determined to carry forward this relationship and enhance cooperation in all areas.”

Kapoor stressed that the welfare of the community continues to be top priority for the missions.

“We here in the embassy and the Consulate in Dubai will continue to support you in whatever way possible,” Kapoor added.

Later, cultural programmes were held at the embassy auditorium.

Separately, ceremonies were held at the community associations too. India Social and Cultural Centre president Yogish Prabhu hoisted the national flag. Mahra Al Amry, an official from the Ministry of Community Development, graced the occasion.

“Amid the pandemic, the ISC has done its best to help people in distress through relief campaigns. I appreciate the contributions of our members and well-wishers,” Prabhu said in his speech.

Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor marks Indian Republic Day at the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi. Supplied Photo
Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor marks Indian Republic Day at the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi. Supplied Photo

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