Indian embassy in Qatar moving to West Bay area this week

Flag of India for illustrative purposes only.

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Flag of India for illustrative purposes only.

With its current premises stretched to capacity, the Indian Embassy in Qatar is moving to a new location in Onaiza, north of West Bay Petrol Station.

The relocation means that Indian embassy staff will not be providing consular and other services for several days.

Diplomatic officials said in a statement yesterday that the current embassy in Old Al Hilal will close this Wednesday, June 22.

The new location is scheduled to open on Monday, June 27.

However, diplomatic staff will still be responding to emergencies and be answering emails, the embassy stated.

Capacity stretched

This will be the embassy’s second move in recent years. In 2010, it outgrew its former premises in Al Hilal and moved to a larger villa in the area.

But that space has also become too small for the Indian expat community, which has swelled to more than 600,000 people, making it Qatar’s largest demographic group.

Last year, the Indian embassy began searching once again for larger premises.

The move came as Indian expats complained about overcrowding at the embassy, according to NRIcafe.com, a website for Indians in the Middle East.

Still, not everyone is happy with the new location, which is near several other diplomatic missions, including the Thai and Tunisian embassies, among others.

As rumors of the impending move began to spread, several residents argued that the new embassy would be relatively inaccessible to many Indian expats, especially those working in low-income jobs.

One community association even wrote to India’s Minister of External Affairs to voice its concerns about the lack of parking, public transit service and relative age of the building itself.

Attempting to alleviate these concerns, the embassy said in a statement that diplomatic staff have asked Mowasalat officials to increase the number of buses to the location – a request that is “under positive consideration.”

And, in an additional bid to reduce traffic at the embassy, diplomatic staff said they’ve proposed outsourcing the collection and delivery of consular applications.

However, that decision rests with the Indian government, the embassy added.

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