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Gulf Countries assure welfare of Large Indian Diaspora amid Qatar Crisis

International terrorism, violent extremism and religious intolerance pose grave threat not only to regional stability but also to the global peace

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Qatar
Large Indian Diaspora in Qatar. Wikimedia
  • Indians, at 6,30,000, comprise the largest expatriate community in gas-rich Qatar
  • 4 countries have cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar on allegations of supporting terrorism
  • India also said that the countries should resolve their differences through dialogue

New Delhi, June 10, 2017: India on Saturday said it is closely monitoring the situation in the Gulf where several countries led by Saudi Arabia have cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar and that the countries have assured continued support for the welfare and well-being of the large Indian diaspora.

India also said that the countries should resolve their differences through dialogue.

We are closely following the emerging situation in the Gulf region in the wake of the recent decision by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and some other countries to break diplomatic relations with the State of Qatar, the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

We are of the view that all parties should resolve their differences through a process of constructive dialogue and peaceful negotiations based on well-established international principles of mutual respect, sovereignty, and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, it said.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar on allegations of supporting terrorism, including the Muslim Brotherhood. Yemen, Libya, the Maldives and Jordan also took similar steps.

Indians, at 6,30,000, comprise the largest expatriate community in gas-rich Qatar which is by size a small nation.

The statement said India was closely monitoring the situation in the Gulf and was also in regular contact with the regional countries.

Their authorities have assured us continued support for welfare and well-being of the resident Indian communities, it stated.

Indian expatriates in the region are advised to contact the Indian embassy or consulate concerned should they require assistance or advise consequent to the developing situation, it added.

Meanwhile, the Indian Embassy in Doha has also issued an advisory to expatriate Indians in the Gulf country asking to them to remain updated about the developments and not to believe in rumours.

With India having strategic energy interests in the region, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made important bilateral visits over the last three years to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Iran.

The ministry statement said India believes that peace and security in the Gulf are of paramount importance for the continued progress and prosperity of the countries in the region.

International terrorism, violent extremism and religious intolerance pose grave threat not only to regional stability but also to the global peace and order and must be confronted by all countries in a coordinated and comprehensive manner, it said.

India has time-tested friendly relations with GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries. With over eight million Indian expatriates living and working in these countries, we have vital stakes in the regional peace and stability. (IANS)

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Saudi Arabia Offers Tourist Visas to 49 Countries For The First Time

Saudi Arabia has announced that tourist visas will be issued for the first time to visitors from 49 countries around the world

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Saudi Arabia, Offers, Visa, Tourist visas
These visas will cost 300 Saudi riyal ($80), with an additional cost of 140 Saudi riyal for travel insurance, reports said. Pixabay

Saudi Arabia has announced that tourist visas will be issued for the first time to visitors from 49 countries around the world, the media reported on Friday.

The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) made the announcement at an event in Ad-Diriyah, an ancient city that is now a leading tourist destination.

“The electronic tourist visa will be issued within a record time of seven minutes and the beneficiaries of the visa include tourists from 49 countries,” said Tourism chief Ahmed Al-Khateeb in a statement, according to the Saudi Gazette.

“Opening Saudi Arabia to international tourists is a historic moment for our country. Visitors will be surprised… by the treasures we have to share – five Unesco World Heritage Sites, a vibrant local culture and breathtaking natural beauty,” he said.

Al-Khateeb said the Kingdom will also ease its strict dress code for foreign women, allowing them to go without the abaya robe that is still mandatory public wear for Saudi women.

Foreign women, however, will be required to wear “modest clothing,” he added, without elaborating.

Tourists from 38 countries in Europe, 7 in Asia, as well as the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, will be eligible to apply for the new visas.

These visas will cost 300 Saudi riyal ($80), with an additional cost of 140 Saudi riyal for travel insurance, reports said.

Saudi Arabia, Offers, Visa, Tourist visas
Opening Saudi Arabia to international tourists is a historic moment for our country. Pixabay

Tourists will be allowed to stay in the Kingdom for a maximum of 90 days during the year during which they can enter the Kingdom multiple times. The validity of one year will be counted from the date of issuance of the visa, the Saudi Gazette reported.

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Applications for the tourist visas will commence on September 28. The visa announcement was teased via a website and on social media by way of a video campaign, hashtagged “Where in the world?” which featured several shots of Saudi landmarks and natural wonders, prompting viewers to guess where they might be.

According to SCTH, the website has garnered over 94 million views since going live. The commission announced on Thursday that it established a 15 billion Saudi riyal fund to support tourism projects across the Kingdom, reports say. (IANS)