Saudi Arabia to set up consulate in Hyderabad

Hyderabad, Feb 7 (IANS) Saudi Arabia will soon set up a consulate in Hyderabad, its second consulate in India after Mumbai.

Saudi Ambassador Saud Mohammed Al-Sati met Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and the latter assured him all support in setting up the consulate.

It will be the third consulate in the city after those of the US and Iran.

Addressing a select gathering of ministers, officials and eminent citizens here, the first day of his two-day visit to Hyderabad, Al-Sati said Saudi Arabia was making all efforts to set up the consulate quickly in view of the demand from a large number of migrants from Andhra Pradesh to the kingdom.

He said his visit to Hyderabad was part of his country's efforts to strengthen ties with India. "We are exploring the opportunities for mutual cooperation in various sectors," he added.

Referring to the kingdom's historic ties with Hyderabad, the envoy said the city would be included in future visits of business and trade delegations.

The envoy also expressed keen interest in fostering a relationship with the southern state in the field of higher education. He noted that Hyderabad offered huge opportunities to Saudi students, especially in medicine and engineering.

Al-Sati also met Director General of Police V. Dinesh Reddy and discussed with him "Saudi nationals and students living in Hyderabad", a press release from the DGP's office said.

An estimated 400,000 people from Andhra Pradesh, majority of them from Hyderabad and surrounding districts, are employed in Saudi Arabia. They have long been demanding a consulate here to make things easy in obtaining visas. At present, people have to travel to Mumbai or New Delhi to get their visas fotr Saudi Arabia.