Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed has said Saudi Arabia has been asked to implement the “Nitaqat” (naturalisation) law — reserving 10 per cent of private jobs for locals — with a “human face” by giving enough time to Indian expatriates.

The Minister, who is scheduled to visit Riyadh soon along with Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi to take up the issue, told The Hindu here on Tuesday that the Ambassador for Saudi Arabia, who had a meeting with MEA officials, was informed that New Delhi was not against “Nitaqat” and it did not want to interfere in the internal affairs of that government.

Considering long-time friendly relations India had with Saudi Arabia, the latter could take the best decision considering the interests of huge number of Indian expatriates working there, the envoy was told.

The situation was not alarming and there was no need for panic, said Mr. Ahamed, who recently met Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Abdulla Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud on the sidelines of the 11th Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) ministerial meeting at Dushanbe, Tajikistan, and discussed the “Nitaqat” law.

Sources said the Indian delegation, leaving for Riyadh on the orders of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, might highlight the difficulties the expatriates might undergo as some of them had to return jobless if the Saudi authorities started enforcing the “Nitaqat” strictly.

The deadline for implementing “Nitaqat” ended on March 27.

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