Jeddah community bids adieu to Envoy Javed

Departing ambassador upbeat on impressive overtones in Saudi–India ties


Saudi Gazette

The outgoing Indian Ambassador Ahmad Javed said that the recent visit of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, to India has been instrumental in taking the Saudi-India bilateral ties to new heights. “With the visit of the Crown Prince last month, the level of relations between the two countries reached a stage that never attained before, and it has further cemented on what we have achieved in the past in almost all realms,” he said.

Javed made the remarks while addressing a farewell reception hosted recently by the Indian community in honor of him and his wife Shabnam Javed at the Boys’ Section Auditorium of International Indian School Jeddah.

The function was hosted jointly by the Saudi Indian Business Network (SIBN), India Forum and the Indian Pilgrims Welfare Forum (IPWF), which are working under the aegis of the Consulate General of India.

Several dignitaries, including Indian Consul General Mohammed Noor Rahman Sheikh, his wife Dr. Nazneen Rahman Sheikh, Deputy Consul General and Consul Haj Mohammed Shahid Alam, India Forum President Mir Ferozuddin, SIBN Vice President and President of Abeer Medical Group Mohammed Alungal, Member of the Indian Schools Higher Board Abdul Gafoor Danish, IPWF President Mohammed Aziz Kidwai and General Secretary of SIBN Mir Gazanfar Ali Zaki attended the function. A memento of the Jeddah community was presented to Javed by Ferozuddin, Kidwai and Zaki.

In his farewell speech, Javed thanked Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, the Crown Prince and government of Saudi Arabia for extending help and cooperation in so many ways in supporting the Indian community in tackling critical issues. “When the visit visa fee had been raised to SR2,000 in 2016, there were our efforts behind reduction of the fee to SR305.”

Javed noted that the way Saudis look at India is as a huge power and an entity with which they are comfortable to deal with. He said that it was so impressive the kind of responses that the Indian Mission is being received from Saudis after last year’s National Festival for Heritage and Culture (Janadriyah), where India was the guest of honor.

“There have been tremendous positive changes in the very look of Saudis toward India, whether it is in strategic and security issues or in the case of raising Haj quota, or labor related issues. The joint statement, issued at the end of the Crown Prince’s visit to India, was the best example of this.”

“If you go through the statement, you can see there are many accomplishments that are being made for the first time. It was also a landmark achievement that India’s Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj got the invite to become the guest of honor at the Abu Dhabi session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) earlier this month,” he said pointing out that this was for the first time India attending a high level OIC event in the 50-year history of the pan Islamic organization.

Javed appreciated the smooth conduct of India’s Haj operation. “This mammoth task is becoming more and more smooth, better and systematic, and hassle free with an increase in the number of pilgrims year after year, especially after the recent directive of the Crown Prince to increase the quota by 30,000 from 170,000 to 200,000.

Javed offered heartfelt thanks and congratulations to the Indian community in KSA for the support extended to him during his tenure of over three years. He also thanked team members at embassy and Jeddah consulate for the kind of support extended by them. “Achieving any success or accomplishment is the result of the team work,” he emphasized.

In his speech, Alungal drew attention to the high level visits that took place between the two countries during Javed’s tenure, while pointing out that these were instrumental in becoming the relations much stronger and mature. His period also witnessed blossoming partnerships in diverse areas and laying down initiatives for long term and sustainable achievements.

Sharing the journey with Javed, Danish recalled that the envoy brought out major reforms in police force as one of India’s top cops before traveling to the Kingdom to assume the post of ambassador on 17 Feb. 2016. “Today is a day we’ll all remember and are bidding farewell to an officer who had donned khaki and took over the ambassadorship to take to news levels the present Indo-Saudi diplomatic relationships. He’s perhaps the second commissioner of India to be appointed as an envoy, the first being Julius Ribeiro, also the top cop of Mumbai, to Romania.”

Danish also reflected that perhaps our ambassador is one of the few persons who was able to marry khaki or khadi seamlessly, proving to be comfortable both in police stations while interacting with his officers and also effortlessly fitting in in any social gathering.

“Javed left no stones unturned in serving the community and taking the bilateral ties between the two countries to new heights. His three-year long diplomatic career left an indelible mark as he devoted his time and efforts to solve the problems of Indian workers in distress in various parts of the Kingdom,” he pointed out.

M. Ayoob Hakeem, general secretary of India Forum, was the master of the ceremony. A number of well-known singers in the city — Waseem Mukaddam, Sikandar, Mumthaz Abdurahman, and Amjad Baig — gave a befitting musical tribute to Javed and Shabnam at the end of the function. Waseem sung the famous song starting with Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (Never say goodbye), as a dedication of the Jeddah community to the departing Indian envoy.

It was an enthralling experience for the attendees when Waseem and Mumthaz sung romantic songs in response to requests from Javed and Shabnam dedicating them to each other. Firstly, it was the turn of Shabnam who requested dedication of the song — starting with Meray rashk-e- Qamar Tu ne pehli nazar (The moon which I envy; it is like the first glance) — to her husband and in turn Javed dedicated the song — starting with Pal pal dilke pass tum rehtay ho (You live near my heart each and every minute) — to his wife, filling the air with romantic overtones.