It was nothing less than jubilation when the Honourable Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Thailand Her Excellency Mrs. Suchitra Durai met up with the Indians residing here in Pattaya on Dec 16.
H.E. Mrs. Suchitra Durai together with her husband, former ambassador R. Swaminathan, and her entourage met with the Sikh community at the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Sikh Temple where they were welcomed by Amrik Singh Kalra, president of the Thai Sikh Indian Community in Pattaya, and VP Paramjit Singh Ghogar. Her Excellency paid respects to the holy Guru Grant Sahib, the Sikh Holy Scripture and listened to the morning prayers.
Her Excellency spoke to the Sikh congregation expressing her happiness for having the opportunity to meet with them. The ambassador said that next year the Indian embassy was planning to mark the 550th anniversary of the birth of Sri Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism with ceremonies and festivities in Bangkok and Pattaya. At the same time 2019 also marks the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi which will also be marked by many traditional and colourful celebrations.
Later that afternoon a high tea was held at the Centara Grand Mirage where Her Excellency met with more than 100 members of the Indian community living and working in Pattaya and the Eastern Seaboard.
The ambassador spent a most enjoyable evening getting to know the vibrant Indian community, their activities, contribution in all fields and their immense presence in Pattaya.
H.E. Mrs. Durai interacted and provided a few solutions to some of the genuine concerns the Non Resident Indians (NRI) residing here faced.
She encouraged people to take initiatives in forming an association acting as a help desk which can be useful to both Indians residing here and those visiting as tourists.
Similarly she said that she would propose and pitch the advantages of making use of the skill sets of the spouses of expats to the government of Thailand until which they can work voluntarily.
The ambassador was impressed with the concerns of not having an online voting option for NRIs. She and her husband Ambassador (retd.) R Swaminathan explained why it is currently not possible and that the Government of India is working towards setting up a system.
The couple was visibly delighted with the meeting and left the Indian residents gleaming with joy and pride and with hope in their hearts.