The India Pavilion will showcase the country’s glorious past as well as its new energy and promising future during the Dubai Expo 2020
By Malavika Kodiyath
Dubai Expo 2020 has had both the local and expatriate population in Dubai excited since the early 2010s. I was still in school when talk of it started, and business owners mentioned it more than anybody else. As a 15-year-old I was only faintly aware of global economics, diplomacy and business but even to a mid-teen who had limited acquaintance with business affairs, the Dubai Expo was a very familiar term, as was what it could mean for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) comprising the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and the surrounding region. No casual dinners would pass without a guest mentioning the Expo at least once, and what it could do for their business.
That the UAE, a country which some decades earlier relied mostly on fishing and pearls, had transformed its sand dunes into skyscrapers with one being the tallest in the world, gave people the confidence that the Expo would be an even bigger boost for the nation’s image and its economic architecture.
The Expo was initially scheduled for 2020. But when the world came to a halt due to Covid-19, the Expo remained something to look forward to the following year. Now that the Expo is much closer – starting on October 1, 2021 and slated to continue till March 31, 2022 – there are several virtual snapshots of what it will physically look like.
Remarkably, conversations centre on the brilliance of the India Pavilion, one of the larger ones. Deepak Arora, managing director of the City Diamond Contracting Company that helped build the India Pavilion, throws some light on what one can expect. He says, “India will showcase its cultural, economic and social advancements. The India Pavilion will present India’s heritage and her past, and also provide a platform to show visitors what India has in store for the future. India has her best days ahead and this Expo is the perfect platform to launch into the future. Visitors to the India Pavilion are in line for an enriching experience.”
‘The main pavilion building facade is clad with kinetic powered moving stone slabs that speak of India’s new energy and its progressive future.’
Arora says that the main highlights of the pavilion will include presentation of India’s most popular elements – yoga, cuisine, garments, art forms, film industry, and fashion. The latest infrastructure developments in the largest democracy in the world will be showcased to a global audience. A sneak peek into the infrastructure projects reveals new airports, roads, and cities.
Another major highlight at the India Pavilion will be the country’s technological advancement. Since the 1990s, IT (Information Technology) development within the country has been on an upward spiral. With a young population that is fairly tech-savvy, India has been a forerunner in terms of taking up IT projects from across the globe. India’s own dependence on and usage of tech has been on the rise, especially considering the cheaper availability of the internet and telecom as compared to many other parts of the world. Showcasing the continuous and steadfast progress of digital infrastructure in the country will allow visitors an insight into how far we have come since independence. It will also give them a glimpse of the tremendous potential India has for the growth of this industry.
Parag and Hetal Vadodoria run Panacor Technologies, an IT infrastructure company based in Dubai, which is fitting the outdoor sound systems of the India Pavilion. Parag says, “The sound system might seem like a small piece of work in the grand scheme of the pavilion. But it is one of the most important aspects as we will have ministers and leaders speaking, and ensuring superior audio quality is an absolute necessity.”
Parag has been in the UAE for 30 years since his arrival from Mumbai when he was 21. He says, “The country has progressed so quickly in such a short span. And I believe the Expo is going to be one of the biggest business related events of this decade, or maybe even this century. This will help people see the immense potential the UAE has.”
Regarding India’s participation, he points out, “India too is a country with great potential. We have so far been one of the best IT hubs globally. Our participation in this event will boost our economy as we will be able to display our progress and the scope of what we can still achieve. This will make more global investors seek to be part of India’s continuous development. And our bilateral relations with other participating countries will be further cemented.”
Presenting the scope of future prospects at the pavilion means inclusion of India’s space programme. This year, we saw three countries going to Mars with orbiters, including the UAE with Hope. India is not very far behind in space exploration, with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) having carried out 111 space missions. A couple of space projects are on the anvil, among which is a Mars orbiter, Mangalyaan 2, planned to be launched by 2025, while Aditya, a mission to study the sun, has a nearer timeline.
Arora describes the architecture of the largest pavilion at the Expo, “It is a mix of India’s heritage and technological advancements. The plaza area of the pavilion pays tribute to the famous Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. The main pavilion building facade is clad with kinetic powered moving stone slabs that speak of India’s new energy and its progressive future. The facade will also be used to display digital images throughout the Expo. The facade will come to life every evening via a mapping system and I’m sure it will leave visitors in awe.”
(The author is a young journalist who lives in Dubai.)