Krishna asks embassies in gulf to look after Indians

Dubai: External Affairs Minister S M Krishna today asked Indian embassies in gulf nations to actively engage local governments to better the living and working conditions of millions of Indians in the region, who are the largest contributors of remittances back home. On a three-day visit to UAE during which Krishna will sign key agreements on double taxation and consular issues, the Minister also asked embassy officials to intensify efforts to find the whereabouts of Indian nationals taken hostages by Somali pirates.

In UAE, which is home to 1.75 million Indians, Krishna noted that Indian expatriates in the gulf region are the largest contributors to remittances in India. He said Indian embassies in the region should now engage the local governments for improving the working and living conditions of millions of Indians employed in this region, official sources said.

Embassy officials in the gulf region were also urged "to intensify efforts" to find the whereabouts and fate of Indian nationals taken as hostages by Somali pirates as lot of ship owners are from the gulf region. Millions of Indians are employed in UAE and other gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait and are the largest source of remittances back home. Official sources said that it was decided that all Indian embassies in the gulf region will now be accessible for emergency purposes 24 hours all days of the year.

Krishna is also scheduled to interact with a number of Indians, including blue collared working class Indians who do not usually get an opportunity to put forward their grievances. During his visit Krishna will co-chair with his counterpart Sheikh Abdullah the 10th Session of the India-UAE Joint Commission for Technical & Economic cooperation (JCM).