A prominent Indian entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist based in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, Dr. Siddeek Ahmed, was presented with the coveted Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award at a ceremony organized by the Indian Embassy in Riyadh.
Dr. Ahmed, the chairman and managing director of Eram Group, was selected for the award by a special jury-cum-awards committee headed by India’s vice president as the award committee chairman and India’s external affairs minister as the committee vice-chair. Dr. Ahmed was chosen because of his overall contributions to building closer links between India and Saudi Arabia through his entrepreneurship and innovative manufacturing.
The award was presented by Indian Ambassador Dr. Ausaf Sayeed. The ceremony was held in the presence of prominent Indian and Saudi entrepreneurs, investors, and professionals in addition to several Indian community representatives.
Prominent among the Saudi guests were Dr. Selwa Al-Hazzaa, the well-known ophthalmologist; Col. Dr. Hamad M.A. Al-Kaabi, director of security affairs at the GCC Secretariat; Naif Al-Obaidallah, managing director at Saudi Development Med (SDM); and Dr. Fawaz Al-Hussain, president of the Saudi-India Healthcare Forum’s Riyadh chapter.
Speaking to the assembled guests, the ambassador said that the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman was the highest award conferred on nonresident Indians and persons of Indian origin and it is a matter of great pride that a prominent member of the Kingdom’s Indian diaspora is one of the recipients of the coveted award this year.
Dr. Sayeed said that the Indian community was known for its talent, exemplary discipline, and hard work, through which it has made significant contributions all over the world in practically every field from science and technology to music, literature, politics, and business.
In his acceptance speech, Dr. Ahmed said that he was truly humbled by the recognition and dedicated the award to all Indians living in Saudi Arabia and to his parents, his wife Nushaiba, and children Rizwan, Rizana, and Rizvi along with other family members.
So far seven Indians in Saudi Arabia have received the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman. They include the late Dr. Majid Kazi (2006), Rafiuddin Fazulbhoy (2008), Dr. M.S. Karimuddin (2011), Shihab Kottukad (2014) and Zeenat Jafri (2017).
On this occasion, three previous recipients of the award — Dr. Karimuddin, Kottukad, and Jafri — shared their experiences of their eventful journey in Saudi Arabia.
The award presentation ceremony was anchored by Ritu Yadav, the second secretary (press, information, and culture).
According to a recent report by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the Indian diaspora is the largest in the world, with 18 million Indians in 2020 living outside their homeland. The UAE with 3.5 million, the US with 2.7 million, and Saudi Arabia with 2.5 million hosts the largest numbers of Indians. In addition, there are about 13 million persons of Indian origin living abroad, pushing the total number of the Indian diaspora to approximately 31 million.