Pranab hails expat Indians’ role in boosting Indo-Saudi ties

April 20th, 2008 - 12:52 pm ICT by admin  

By Aroonim Bhuyan
Riyadh, April 20 (IANS) The reputation of expatriate Indians as honest and disciplined workers has contributed significantly to the growing ties between India and Saudi Arabia, said visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee. “I have heard immense praise for your educational and technical achievements; for your integrity and sense of discipline; and for your honesty and devotion to work,” Mukherjee said at a reception organized in his honour by the Indian community here Saturday evening, the first day of his two-day visit to Saudi Arabia.

“All of you, by your skills, hard work and personal qualities represent the best in our intellectual and cultural heritage and thus encourage Saudis to enhance their interaction with us,” he said.

Numbering 1.56 million, Indians form the single largest expatriate community in this country.

Around 85 percent of them are engaged as blue-collar workers, mostly in the booming construction industry across this oil-rich nation.

Remittances by these Indian workers are estimated to be about $3 billion annually and contribute significantly to India’s economy.

According to the Indian embassy here, despite the increasing emphasis given by the authorities on Saudiization in terms of employment, prospects for Indian emigrants continue to be good, on account of the boom the Saudi economy is currently riding through and the various new prospects on the anvil.

Apart from giving more value for money as compared to Westerners, Indians are the preferred community in this nation, the largest in the Gulf, for the high quality of their technical expertise.

Mukherjee said that one very important area of cooperation between the two countries was education.

“Today, India offers quality education in all spheres - medicine, engineering, information technology, technical courses etc at a reasonable cost and in a good environment,” he said, adding the first batch of Saudi students would soon leave for India for education under the King Abdullah Scholarship Programme.

“I am sure that this cooperation will grow over the coming years.”

Earlier, the minister also laid the foundation stone for the Delhi Public School (DPS) Riyadh, the first DPS branch in this country.

Chairman of the DPS group Salman Khurseed was present on the occasion.

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