Vayalar Ravi to go on a Gulf tour
Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi will lead an official delegation on a three-nation tour of the Gulf from May 3.
According to the official itinerary, Ravi, accompanied by G. Gurucharan, joint secretary in the ministry, will reach Bahrain's capital Manama on May 3. The next day he will leave for Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
After two days in Dubai, the minister will leave for Saudi Arabia, halting first in Jeddah and then flying to the capital Riyadh. The final leg of the tour will see him going to Abu Dhabi, the capital of UAE.
In the course of his visit, the minister is expected to meet representatives of apex Indian bodies, community leaders, Indian workers and his counterparts in those countries.
Ravi's visit assumes significance in the wake of a series of controversies involving Indian workers in the Gulf.
In Dubai, a large number of Indian workers recently went on a rampage at the construction site of what is going to be the world's tallest building, protesting against poor living conditions and salaries.
Then in Bahrain, around 1,500 Indian workers, besides other Asian workers, employed by a construction company - a sub-contractor of Bahrain Petroleum Co (Bapco) - went on a strike after one of the workers, an Indian, was allegedly pushed around by a company official for his refusal to relocate to Qatar.
Ravi is expected to pursue a bilateral agreement with Bahrain aiming at the welfare of the Indian workers and also ensuring that they stay disciplined and do not infringe upon local laws.