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After year-long delay, Dubai kicks off Expo 2020 with star-studded opening ceremony

The Expo's star-studded opening ceremony was streamed live to more than 430 locations across the UAE.

Dubai expo 2021General view of the Burj Khalifa and the downtown skyline in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, September 30, 2021. (Reuters)

After a one-year delay owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, Dubai Thursday kicked off its USD 7 billion Expo 2020 on a desert site, which a media report described as equivalent to the size of 600 football fields.

According to the Khaleej Times, the Expo’s star-studded opening ceremony was streamed live to more than 430 locations across the UAE. The ceremony was attended by Abu Dhabi’s powerful Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and a host of other dignitaries.

The event will go on until March 2022 and is likely to see participants from over 190 countries. The city has decided on a target of 25 million visits — both virtually and in person.

According to the Associated Press, the Expo is one of the world’s first global events in the pandemic world, following an Olympics this summer in Japan that took place without spectators.

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However, unlike Tokyo, the UAE has one of the world’s highest vaccination rates per capita and has seen its daily case numbers drop to their lowest levels in over a year.

Artists carry national flags during the opening ceremony of the Dubai Expo 2020, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. (AP)

The event was also marred with political controversy after the European Parliament this month urged nations not to take part in the Expo, citing human rights abuses, the jailing of activists and the autocratic government’s use of spyware to target critics.

However, EU’S top diplomat Josep Borrell acknowledged in a statement Thursday the bloc would take part in the Expo.


“In times of great challenges, our societies need to come together, not only to overcome them but also to grow stronger and cooperate better,” Borrell was quoted as saying by AP. “Expo 2020 Dubai is a very visible opportunity to underline the EU’s commitment to international cooperation and multilateralism,” he added.

A Journalist watches a show of the Israeli pavilion during a media tour at the Dubai Expo in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. (AP)

The Indian pavilion at the Expo is being represented by Vedanta Resources, which has partnered with the Indian government to showcase the country’s growth potential while celebrating India’s 75th year of Independence.

“The next 25 years, India will be the growth engine of the global economy, like China was in previous decades. Not only is India a large market, but also has tremendous human resource capital.” The Dubai Expo is a technology marvel that will capture the vibrant Indian culture and its past, besides the capabilities and opportunities that it presents as a global economic hub to the domestic as well as the foreign investors, Vedanta said in a statement.


Artists perform during the opening ceremony of the Dubai Expo 2020 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, September 30, 2021.  (Reuters)

A large number of prominent government ministers, officials, and celebrities are set to visit the India Pavilion during the six months of the expo, which will also host a number of cultural events.

The event was earlier scheduled to be on October 20, 2020 – April 10, 2021.

First published on: 30-09-2021 at 22:34 IST
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