(MENAFN - Arab News) A veteran Indian diplomat, Manohar Ram, who has been promoted as New Delhi's ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), will leave Riyadh later this week after completing more than two years of his diplomatic tour in Saudi Arabia. Arab News caught up with Ram and his wife Rashmi Manohar at one of the dozens of farewell functions organized in their honor and asked them to share their experiences and fond memories about the Kingdom.
Ram, who was very popular among his Saudi friends as well as among the members of the huge Indian diaspora in Saudi Arabia during his tenure as deputy chief of the Indian mission, said that "it was a beautiful experience (being in theKingdom), especially because I served in a country which I like most." Ram's duties have taken him earlier to Turkey, the UAE, Cyprus, Belgium and New Delhi. "It is very difficult to describe in words how much it has enriched my experience while working in Saudi Arabia," said Ram.
He further remarked that the larger Indian community has earned a very good name for themselves in the Kingdom because of their "hard work and honesty." While contributing positively to the development of the Saudi economy, the community has helped in strengthening Indo-Saudi relations, he added. He added that his interaction with the Saudi leadership, officials and ordinary Saudi nationals was always cordial.
"I have made many friends among Saudis, Indians and among Riyadhbased foreign diplomats," said the outgoing Indian official. Asked about his new role as ambassador to DR Congo, Ram said that he would reach Kinshasa in the first week of January next year. "This is my first assignment as ambassador of India and I am thankful to the government for entrusting me with this important responsibility and for showing the confidence in me," he said. Ram pointed out that DR Congo is a very important country in central Africa. It offers tremendous possibility to enhance cooperation between India and Congo, said Ram.
He pointed out that India has around 4,500 soldiers serving under UN mandate in Congo out of a contingent of 17,000 UN forces there. On the other hand, Congo can benefit from Indian experiences in different fields, he observed. There are around 7000 Indians including people of Indian origin in that country at the moment. Most of the Indians living in Congo are doing business, said the diplomat. Ram, who travelled extensively in Saudi Arabia with his wife Rashmi, said that he is leaving the Kingdom with "great satisfaction and full of experiences."
"I am happy that I was in a position to be able to contribute qualitatively to enhance Indian-Saudi relations," said the Indian ambassador-designate to Congo. He pointed out that Indo-Saudi relations have been growing very fast particularly after the visit of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to India way back in 2006 and the return visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2010. The realm of the bilateral relation has expanded and it today includes areas like economic, political, defense, security, manpower and many more areas of
mutual concerns, he added.
On commercial front, he said that the trade between Riyadh and New Delhi has been progressively growing. The two-day trade totaled 25 billion in 2010-2011 financial year, while total volume of trade amounted to 36.7 billion in 2011-12. The two-way trade exceeded 20 billion during the first six months of the current financial year, added the Indian ambassador-designate to Congo. A large number of Indian companies have either teamed up with Saudi companies as joint-ventures or invested themselves in the Kingdom.