[Jeddah Indian Media Forum President P.M. Mayinkutty and General Secretary C.K. Morayur presenting memento to Mohammed Noor Rahman Sheikh. (File Photo: Saudi Gazette)]
Jeddah: Mohammed Noor Rahman Sheikh, currently first secretary at India’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, has been appointed India’s next consul general in Jeddah. Sheikh served in Jeddah as deputy consul general and Haj consul until recently. He moved to New York only three months ago, according to Arab News.
The incoming consul general expressed delight at his appointment. “The news of my new posting as the consul general of India in Jeddah, having come on my birthday, has made my day unique,” Sheikh wrote on his Facebook account on Saturday.
The current incumbent, B.S. Mubarak, is returning to New Delhi after completing two years of his three-year term in Jeddah. Mubarak took over the post from Faiz Ahmed Kidwai in early 2014.
Sheikh is returning to a city with which he is pretty familiar and comfortable. Just as Mubarak, Sheikh is down to earth and enjoys a good rapport with the large Indian population in and around Jeddah.
A native of Imphal in Manipur, Sheikh is a product of the famed Indian Foreign Service (IFS). Diplomacy is his second love with his first being the National Defense Academy (NDA).
The Jeddah position is critically important for India’s Ministry of External Affairs because it has the responsibility of arranging facilities for the nearly 170,000 Indians who come for Haj every year.
There are nearly three million Indians in Saudi Arabia. Of them, a substantial number are in Makkah Region of which Jeddah is the main city.
A number of former diplomats who were posted in Jeddah have gone on to assume important diplomatic positions for India. Prominent among them are Syed Akbaruddin, who is now India’s ambassador to the United Nations, and Dr. Ausaf Sayeed who is India’s consul general in Chicago.
Talmiz Ahmad — who served as both the consul general in Jeddah and as ambassador in Riyadh and has now retired — is considered one of the most outstanding Indian authorities on Middle Eastern affairs.