Indians upbeat as embassy moves to own premises

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Dubai, Jan 13 (UNI) Visiting External Affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee and his Omanian counterpart Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdallah today inaugurated the premises of Indian embassy in Muscat, established almost 50 years after diplomatic links were established between the two nations.

Hundreds of thousands of Indians working and living in Oman thronged the high-profile ceremony organised at the opening of the new sprawling complex, located in the Diplomatic Area between the US and British embassies.

The 'Chancery-cum-Residence' covering an area of 12,600 square metres, with the Chancery occupying a built-up area of 2,576 square metres, boasted ultra-modern security equipment such as CCTV, X-ray machine and metal detector and a state-of-the-art auditorium providing a seating arrangement for some 300 people.

New Delhi opened its Consulate in Muscat in February 1955. In April 1960, it was upgraded to a Consulate-general, becoming a full-fledged Embassy in 1971, and the first Indian Ambassador arrived in Muscat in 1973.

The embassy was operating from rented buildings until now.

The number of Indian workers has steadily increased up to 432,500, not including family members and children, making them by far the largest expatriate community in the country.

''We hope it (the new embassy complex) will become a place of pride for all Indians living in Oman, much more suitable for their needs,'' Ambassador Anil Wadhwa told a news conference on the new premises.

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