Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor addresses community members after unfurling the national flag.
Imran Mojib, Special Correspondent
Ambassador of India to the UAE Pavan Kapoor has urged all Indians to come forward and get vaccinated against the COVID-19.
Kapoor made the call after unfurling the Indian national flag on the occasion of Republic Day of India which was celebrated across the UAE on Tuesday. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the celebration remained a low-key affair, which was attended by the mission’s staff. The proceedings were telecast live on various social media platforms.
During his virtual address to the Indian community, Kapoor said, “We are pleased that the vaccine rollout has started both here and in India and I would encourage all of you to get vaccinated as per the guidelines here so that we can all assist in this process to try and take away the scourge of the pandemic as soon as possible.
“We have to make sure that even after getting vaccinated we don’t let our guard down. There are different variants of the pandemic virus which still keep coming up. So, please do continue to maintain all the safeguards of social distancing, wearing masks at all time, and continue to take precautions. This is still bit of a way off although there is clearly light at the end of the tunnel.”
The UAE is home to more than 3.3 million Indians. Ever since the flights between the UAE and India restarted under the Air Bubble arrangements, about 1.3 million Indians had flown home. About 150,000 of them are still stuck in India.
Speaking about the issue, the Ambassador said, “I know that many people here have lost their jobs and livelihood. But, I am also glad to see that many people have come back – people who had gone back to India whether for medical or other reasons. We are working to ensure that more individuals will be able to come back.”
“There are a lot of people who are still wanting to come back here and resume their jobs or get back to their friends and families. They are still awaiting ICA approval. We are working closely with the UAE government authorities to see how we can assist. Every such case that is brought to our notice would be taken up with the UAE authorities,” he said.
Highlighting the UAE-India cooperation in food security and healthcare, Kapoor said, “Throughout the pandemic we have tried to ensure that the UAE and India relationship continues to remain strong. Right from the beginning of the pandemic, the leaders on both sides have spoken to each other on a regular basis and coordinated policies.”
The Republic Day celebration at the Consulate General of India in Dubai also remained a muted affair, where Consul General Dr Aman Puri unfurled the tricolour, which was followed by the national anthem and brief cultural programmes in the consulate auditorium.
The event was attended by the Indian Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Ramdas Athawale, and consulate staff.
Community members in Dubai and the Northern Emirates watched the proceedings’ live webcast through the consulate’s social media platforms.
On this occasion, the Consul General also read out excerpts from the message of Indian President Ram Nath Kovind delivered on the eve of the Republic Day. The President praised the efforts of India’s farmers, soldiers and scientists and said their efforts call for special appreciation on the occasion of Republic Day.
On the country’s efforts to fight COVID-19, the President of India said an effective response to the pandemic would not have been possible without the Constitutional value of fraternity among the people of the country.
He also took pride in the fact that India is being called the ‘pharmacy of the world’ for supplying medicines to several countries to contain suffering across the globe.
The president also mentioned that despite the serious calamity, India has succeeded in taking forward its activities in many spheres. The pandemic threatened to derail the young generation’s learning process, but institutions and teachers quickly adopted new technology and ensured that there was no break in education.
These commercial activities include hotels, restaurants, transportation and health as well as social and personal activities related to laundries, beauty salons and hairdressers.
The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has included new categories of people who can book an appointment for vaccination.
The DHA also said, “All those who are due for the second dose of this vaccine will receive a text message with the date and location for their vaccination appointment.”
Priority would be given to those who are registered in the Hajj electronic system and whose data have been previously updated.
"The FNC is confident that the UAE, under President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed, will see a new era of achievements and development. The country will continue to be the nation of giving, tolerance, safety and security," Ghobash said.
The move, which will bring total available funding for projects over the next 15 months to $30 billion, was unveiled hours before a major United Nations meeting on global food security.