Feb 08 2013
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Envoy: KSA consulate in Hyderabad soon
Saudi Ambassador to India Dr. Saud Mohammed A. Al-Sati yesterday confirmed that the Kingdom is actively pursuing the establishment of a consulate in the south Indian city of Hyderabad. The New Delhi-based ambassador, who is currently on a two-day visit to the historic Muslim city, called on Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy. During the meeting, the envoy was assured of full state support, including prime land to construct the consular building.
The Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) quoted the ambassador as saying that Saudi Arabia was making all efforts to set up the consulate to meet the rising demand from a large number of migrants from Andhra Pradesh to the Kingdom. Al-Sati described his visit to Hyderabad as part of his country's efforts to strengthen ties with India. "We are exploring the opportunities for mutual cooperation in various fields," he said. "In view of the Kingdom's historic ties with Hyderabad, the city would be included in future visits of business and trade delegations."
The news was met with instant approval. "This is great news," said well-known journalist Syed Fazil Hussain Parvez. "More than the migrants, it will come as a big relief for the nearly 12,000 pilgrims who travel to Saudi Arabia for Haj every year." An estimated 400,000 people from Andhra Pradesh, majority of them from Hyderabad and surrounding districts, are employed in Saudi Arabia.
The new consulate is expected to ease Saudi-bound travelers' hardships. At present, they have to travel to the Saudi Consulate in Mumbai or the Saudi Embassy in New Delhi to get their visas for Saudi Arabia. Currently, five countries -- US, UK, Turkey, Russia and Iran -- have their consulates in Hyderabad. The state government intends to create a separate diplomatic enclave for the consulates.
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