This was the first official visit by an Arab ruler to the coastal state of Kerala. The Sheikh and his entourage won the support of the Kerala community, about 10 per cent living in the Gulf, by declaring an amnesty for prisoners; new facility for driving licences etc.
Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member of the UAE and Ruler of Sharjah, concluded his four-day official visit to Kerala at the invitation of Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister of Kerala.
This was the first official visit by an Arab ruler to the coastal state of Kerala. The Sheikh and his entourage won the support of the Kerala community, about 10 per cent living in the Gulf, by declaring an amnesty for prisoners; new facility for driving licences etc. Sultan and his team participated in intensive discussions with the President and the Kerala Cabinet. Both sides expressed their keenness to strengthen relations between Sharjah and Kerala.
During the visit, the chief minister presented three proposals. The first one calls for the creation of a Kerala Cultural Centre in Sharjah to highlight the state’s cultural diversity and Ayurvedic practices. The second proposal seeks to establish a family city in Sharjah to provide affordable accommodation to residents of Kerala. The third proposal is to establish an educational complex consisting of a government school of international standards, a world-class engineering college, and a prestigious medical school. Sheikh Sultan said the three proposals would be looked into to ensure appropriate implementation.
During the interactive session with the Council of Ministers on 25th September, the government of Kerala proposed strategic areas of co-operation and investment for mutual benefit. This includes infrastructure finance in Kerala, collaboration in the IT sector, sharing of experiences in developing the emerging business environment, tapping the potential of Ayurveda in healthcare, tourism and investment in the healthcare sector, as well as the establishment of a world-class healthcare institution in Kannur, Kerala, to capitalise on the potential of the newly established international airport there.
The Kerala government has also proposed co-operation for the implementation of “Nava Kerala Karma Padhathi” particularly in water and housing missions.
Sheikh Sultan also announced his decision to pardon 149 Indians convicted in financial cases, misdemeanours and minor offences in general and those in the penal and correctional institutions in the emirate of Sharjah, whose liabilities amount to AED20 million.
The joint statement included Sharjah’s announcement to ensure the establishment of an institute for Arab studies and a series of centres in Kerala to train job seekers, especially in the nursing sector.
Sheikh Sultan has also extended his support in principle to the rules of obtaining an international driving licence in Kerala with the assistance of responsible authorities in Sharjah, in accordance with the laws, regulations and conditions in force in the country, as well as international laws.
They also agreed to form a high-level group of senior officials from both sides to develop a plan of action. In celebration of the visit, the chief minister revealed the Kerala government’s decision to allocate land for the construction of a Consulate General of the UAE in Trivandrum.
Sheikh Sultan concluded his official visit to Kerala and left from the Trivandrum International Airport. Also present on the occasion where Pinarayi Vijayan; Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Media Council; Sheikh Salem bin Abdulrahman Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Ruler’s Office; Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Director of the Government Relations Department; Dr. Ahmed Abdulrahman Al Banna, UAE Ambassador to India; Abdullah Al Owais, Chairman of the Sharjah Department of Culture and Information; Ahmed Mohammed Al Midfa, Honorary Chairman of the Indian Association Sharjah; Mohammed Obaid Al Zaabi, Director of the Sharjah Department of Protocol and Guesthouses; Jamal Hussein Al Za’abi, UAE Consul-General in Kerala; Navdeep Suri, Indian Ambassador to the UAE; Mohammed Hassan Khalaf, Director-General of the Sharjah Media Corporation, as well as several officials from the government of Kerala, local diplomats, academics and businessmen