March 24, 2023

Great Indian Mutiny

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Sanjay Verma: Ambassador who did not stop traveling in the midst of epidemic | Madrid

Interview with Sanjay Verma, Ambassador of India to Spain at the Embassy Headquarters in Avenida de Pao XII.Adolfo Parazzo

No infection Corona virus Or alert status ambassador could not be stopped India In Spain. Sanjay Verma continued his official tours across the country. He went to distant places like San Sebastian, Barcelona, ​​Valencia, Marbella or Rhonda. “I was undoubtedly the ambassador who traveled the most during those months, but always for work reasons,” he says with some pride. He linked daily reports to his government on how he was fighting against Covit-19 in Spain.

Sanjay Verma was born 56 years ago in Agra, the city where the Taj Mahal stands. He holds a BA in Economics and an MA in International Studies and was a college player in hockey, India’s national sport. He spent 31 years of his diplomatic career, which allowed him to hold key positions in Hong Kong, Manila, New Delhi, Kathmandu, Beijing, Dubai and Addis Ababa, and has held various positions. Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi. “When I volunteered to be ambassador to Spain, I gladly accepted it. I have always worked in Asia and part of Asia, and I saw it as an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone,” he explains in perfect English. , And coordinated more than 50 high-level meetings. Coming to Spain is a reward for that hard work, ”he added.

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Verma took over his country’s heritage in Spain in November 2018, allowing him to be known long before the epidemic. In fact, he held meetings with those in charge of the Foreign Ministry before his imprisonment. “The two countries have close ties. Christopher Columbus wanted to go to India, but a geographical error led him to discover the United States. Despite the distance, various civilizations passed through our nations, thanks to which both countries feel comfortable with diversity and cultural openness. We need to strengthen political and cultural ties, “said the diplomat, who lives in India at 1.35 million people (15% of the world’s population).

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Now all those diplomatic activities have come down to video conferencing and phone calls. If the corona virus allows, it will not prevent Pedro Sanchez from coming to his country this year. “We want the situation to be normalized and business and trade exchange figures to return to where they were before the epidemic,” the Ambassador agrees. About 200 million Spanish companies operate in the Asian country, which invests about 3,000 million euros. The 50 Indian companies operating in Spain are earning around 1500 1500 million.

During the alert, the ambassador sent a daily report to his government on how the disease was progressing in Spain and the steps being taken by health officials. Among them, for example, what kind of needles and syringes should be used for the Pfizer vaccine. “Ambassador work is hard and stressful, but the good thing is that every day is so different. Before the epidemic, I had a meeting with businessmen or diplomats, I wanted to see Real Madrid, I had a meeting with Carolina Marino or I finished dinner with different Spanish personalities. That all has changed, but I hope we can start it again soon, he said, adding that he will be vaccinated soon. ”I am a public person and I am going to do it without fear. I think it’s good news for other people, “he added.” In the background, Spanish bands from the sixties and seventies play music.

Interview with Sanjay Verma, Ambassador of India to Spain at the Embassy Headquarters in Avenida de Pao XII.
Interview with Sanjay Verma, Ambassador of India to Spain at the Embassy Headquarters in Avenida de Pao XII.Adolfo Parazzo

During the epidemics, the Indian government called the Vande Bharat operation to deport comrades who had stayed in Spain. They are mainly students, short-term tourists and tourists.

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The data in his country now is lower than it was months ago and represents 0.76% of global cases. “When we have 28 times the Spanish population, 150,000 people have died. We can say that the epidemic has already reached its final stage,” Verma explains.

The Indian population in Spain is 80,000, of whom 30,000 already have Spanish passports, according to the Ambassador. They are mainly concentrated in Barcelona, ​​Madrid, the Canary Islands and Valencia. They include university students, doctoral researchers, professionals, consultants and business representatives, as well as restaurant and service company owners. About 250,000 Indians come to Spain for leisure every year. “The number would be higher if the procedures for applying for a visa with Spain were easier. We have seen many people entering through other countries in the Schengen area and then coming here,” the diplomat said.

“Our diet is based on lentils, chickpeas, chicken and vegetables. Unlike Spanish products, which are rarely cooked, we make a lot of them and add 20 spices to a meal,” says Diplomat. .