Kuwait-India partnership continues to thrive

India and Kuwait have always shared a special bond. Historically, economically and culturally, India and Kuwait have partnered in many fields and on many levels. This fact stood out during my five-day visit to India as part of Kuwait Journalist Association (KJA) delegation’s trip to what is known as ‘the largest democracy in the world’.


Members of the delegation are pictured in front of a known monument in India

What was once a destination for IT know-how and technological solutions in addition to myriad of opportunities for commercial exchange has today become a powerhouse on par with the world’s leaders.

India of today has embraced a forward-looking vision that cements high growth rate driven by a clear vision and strategy in policy-making and in implementation. This came out during the visit of members of Kuwait Journalist Association to India. Then, high-ranking officials from India emphasized the volume of trade and size of the commercial and economic exchange between Kuwait and India. Only last year, the trade exchange between the two countries totalled $12 billion. Furthermore, Kuwait is India’s main oil supplier.

India has always been a partner and a friend to Kuwait. We cannot forget India’s position during Saddam’s invasion when the first demonstration in support of Kuwait took place in Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. The history of bilateral trade goes back to spice, textile imports and pearl diving. Even the first car in Kuwait, a Minerva, was imported from India in 1912 for the late Amir Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah.

The KJA visit was fruitful and enriching culturally, economically and politically, due to several meetings with Indian officials. One of the very interesting places we visited was the propaganda and advertisement department organized by the Indian Foreign Affairs Ministry in the form of a direct debate between Indian journalists and media personalities with Kuwait’s media delegation. The most vivid memories from this trip would be the celebration that the Indian Foreign Information Affairs Ministry held in honour of the Kuwaiti delegation.

The delegation had a chance to visit the Indian Planning Committee, which is concerned with the investment fields and met with Deputy Chairman of the Committee M. Singh. He informed us that foreign investment in his country in the fields of infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, especially in the field of hotel construction, creates good opportunities for investment. According to him, Kuwait can take advantage of these opportunities and invest in those fields. Meanwhile, as Indian officials encouraged Kuwaiti investors to invest in infrastructure, it transpired that there are no special laws geared to attract foreign investment.

Among the most notable meetings was that with Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari, Indian External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna, Indian Parliament Speaker Mira Kumar, the spokesman of the Indian Foreign Ministry Sayyed Akbar Al-Dein and senior Indian journalists. Al-Dein said his country pays great attention to the delegation’s visit because it includes an influential media group including senior editors and journalists, who came to meet various Indian groups in the fields of information and commerce, in addition to high ranking Indian leaders.

Krishna confirmed the deep relations and strong ties between the two countries, adding that there is a vast field for Kuwaiti investors to strengthen the bilateral trade which reached $12.3 billion last year. Everyone stressed the role that free media in India and Kuwait play in bringing the two countries closer. Krishna spoke about strengthening the current trade volumes. “Investments in India are always safe and strong and have relatively higher returns despite the global slowdown. India has grown at a satisfactory rate since 2008, when advanced economies around the world collapsed,” he said. The Kuwaiti delegation visited the Indian Parliament, described as the largest in the world, where members met the speaker of the lower house, and the speaker of Ansari.

Good bilateral relations Ansari said that the two countries have enjoyed good bilateral relations from the past till the current era as well as before the discovery of oil. He said that the Indian community occupies an important share of Kuwait’s market place and lauds business owners there. The speaker of the lower house praised old friendly relations between the two sides and focused on the fact that Kuwait and India share a good democratic basis and a written constitution. She reflected on the role of the woman saying that there are one million female representatives elected in India at various levels, from villages to companies and local authorities. Women also occupy some senior posts in Indian politics, such as speaker of the lower house, head of the opposition and president of the United Progressive Alliance.

One of the highlights of our trip was the Kuwaiti cultural days abroad. Kuwait’s Ambassador to India Sami Al-Suleiman opened the cultural event saying that the distinguished relations between Kuwait and India in various fields especially the political and commercial ties cast a shadow on the cultural relations that are on the upswing between the people of the two countries. Ambassador Al-Suleiman expressed his gratitude to the Indian cultural relations council and India’s Foreign Ministry for their extensive and effective contributions in fulfilling this wish which has been long awaited.

The cultural week included a concert by Kuwait Television Band, which performed a mixture of Kuwaiti and Indian tunes. Director of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations Suresh Kumar lauded the band’s performance, and considered it a fantastic occasion to give the Indian audience an opportunity to enjoy Kuwaiti music and dance. Meanwhile, the Indian culture and art centre called the Red Fort Academy in New Delhi hosted an exhibition of art works by Kuwaiti artists.

Source : Kuwait Times