x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

‘It’s the safest place in the world’: Indian ambassador to UAE says IPL will boost trade and tourism

The Indian ambassador to the UAE, TP Seetharam, said the event will mark a new era for trade and tourism between the two countries.

TP Seetharam, the Indian ambassador to the UAE, says many of India’s big businessmen and celebrities will visit the UAE. Silvia Razgova / The National
TP Seetharam, the Indian ambassador to the UAE, says many of India’s big businessmen and celebrities will visit the UAE. Silvia Razgova / The National

ABU DHABI // The UAE was chosen to host Indian Premier League cricket because it is one of the safest places in the world.

That’s according to the Indian ambassador to the UAE, TP Seetharam, who said the event will mark a new era for trade and tourism between the two countries.

He added that several top businessmen had signalled an interest in investing here because of the cricket.

“Many of India’s big businessmen and celebrities will visit the country. That will give a very strong message to people,” Mr Seetharam said. It will rapidly boost the trade and tourism sectors of both countries, he said.

“It is a major benefit. This will increase the level of interaction when people gather on such a large scale from all streams. It will give rise to collaborations and joint ventures.

“The most important thing is that people come together and talk to each other.”

The IPL is an annual Twenty20 league of the world’s best cricketers assembled by wealthy team owners. This year, eight teams will compete in the UAE, Bangladesh and India, with 20 games taking place here.

The matches will be played in the UAE for security reasons as India’s general election begins on April 7.

“The government could not ensure the kind of security that IPL matches require, as more than 800 million people will be casting their votes. So similar security can’t be provided to the IPL. That’s why,” he said.

The cricket will return to India on May 2 as the poll draws to an end.

Mr Seetharam said he hoped those who visited for the cricket would return.

More than 2.2 million Indian expatriates live in the UAE and more than a million travel from the subcontinent to the country for trade and tourism every year.

Mr Seetharam said the embassy had received positive signals from a number of Indian businessmen who are considering investing in the UAE.

According to the embassy, two-way trade between India and the UAE is worth about US$75 billion (Dh275.47bn) a year.

Of course, they are not coming only for cricket but business too, he said.

“We are getting messages from big business people that they are going to be here for this event. They also sounded us out to have meetings with business people in the UAE.

“This will boost the bilateral commercial, cultural and people to people relations between India and the Emirates.”

The tournament opens on April 16 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in the capital, where the defending champions Mumbai Indians meet Kolkata Knight Riders.

The last match in the UAE will be played between Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad at 6.30pm on April 30 at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

“We are fortunate that we are here in Abu Dhabi and that this big event is going to take place here. I hope everybody enjoys the cricket in the Emirates,” Mr Seetharam said.

anwar@thenational.ae