Ambassador's Message on India’s 70th Republic Day

-- H.E. Mr. K. Jeeva Sagar, Ambassador of India

On the occasion of India’s 70th Republic Day, with profound happiness I convey my warm Greetings and Best Wishes to all my fellow Indians. I would specifically like to take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation and gratitude to all the friends and well-wishers of India in Kuwait, particularly to the leadership, the people and the Government of Kuwait, for their steadfast commitment to the continued close and friendly relations between India and Kuwait. I would like to reiterate that Government of India reciprocates this commitment and is keen to further strengthen and expand this mutually enriching relationship. India-Kuwait relations are multi-dimensional, and are anchored in people-to-people affinities, which is the sign of their enduring nature. Indian nationals form the largest expatriate segment in this beautiful and vibrant nation of Kuwait. A Bilateral relationship between two countries that is rooted in history and defined by the affinity between their peoples is surely on a solid foundation.

On the 26th of January 1950, India became a Republic with the coming into force of its Constitution, acclaimed as one of the finest Constitutions of the world, which laid the foundations of the democratic and secular institutions of India. The India that we see today – a strong, vibrant, democratic, inclusive and secular nation of over 1.3 billion people - is not a miraculous overnight happening. It took great sacrifices, commitment, self-confidence and a strong will to succeed on the part of the resilient people of this dynamic nation and various governments from time to time. The Constitution of India has beautifully defined and encapsulated the principles and foundations of an amazing story of hope and success. It is a matter of pride for every Indian to be part of this continuing saga. The Preamble of the Constitution of India begins with the words “We the people”, and over the years since the inception of the Constitution, India faced many challenges but always emerged victorious deriving inspiration from the values laid down by the Constitution. India is a pluralistic and inclusive society that takes pride in its unity in diversity. We are a nation that celebrates diversity and human dignity.

At the time of India’s independence in 1947, it was an impoverished nation, with the economy in shambles. Today’s India is strong, robust and remarkably resilient. It is the third largest economy in the world on purchasing power parity, and is a proud member of the G20 group of large and powerful economies. India stood like a rock of stability amidst the financial turbulence not many years ago. The Indian economy defied that crisis, and it was a major contributory factor behind the faster recovery of the global economy in the following years.

India’s external policy has always aimed at creating an environment of peace and security in which the world can be a better place for entire humanity to live with dignity and in prosperity. Our foreign policy is focused on a broad range of global issues that serve the larger interests of humanity. We work with other countries to tackle issues of common concern such as international terrorism, climate change, energy security, food security, and the reform of multilateral institutions, including the UN Security Council. The significance of the Gulf and Middle East region in India’s foreign policy framework cannot be overemphasized. We are each other’s extended neighborhood, and peace, security and stability of countries in this region is imperative for prosperity and economic development of India. GCC is one of our largest trading blocs, meeting a significant percentage of India’s crude oil and LPG requirements and hosts about 8.5 million Indians. India also has a Dialogue partnership with the Arab League.

During the recent few years, in a world increasingly dominated by economic uncertainty, India continues to be a global growth leader, maintaining its position as one of the fastest growing large economies, with the present Government of India undertaking various major initiatives. These initiatives included positioning India as a global design and manufacturing hub (Make in India), leveraging on the favourable demographic dividend (Skill India), continuous simplification of regulations and reduction of administrative barriers with the use of technology driven programmes (Digital India, Smart Cities, Model Villages). It’s no wonder that India today, boasting of an open investment climate and an improved business environment (record FDI inflows and unprecedented rise in Ease of Doing Business rankings stand testimony to this fact), offers huge investment opportunities for the global industry and business.2018 has been a significant year for India-Kuwait relations! External Affairs Minister of India H.E. Mrs. Sushma Swaraj visited Kuwait in October. The highlight of the visit was her call on His Highness the Amir during which the two sides took considerable satisfaction in the issue-free, extremely friendly and historical relations between India and Kuwait. His Highness was generous in his appreciation for the Indian community living in Kuwait and their impressive contribution to the socio-economic development of Kuwait. Former Minister of Labour and Social Affairs H.E. Mrs. Hind Al Sabeeh also paid a successful visit to India in October. Visits at Minister of State level had also taken place.

Institutional mechanisms between the two Foreign Ministries held meetings to discuss a wide range of topics of mutual concern and also some issues that needed resolution. Considerable progress was made on cooperative frameworks in the areas of Defence, manpower, external policies etc. It is now about a year since I had the honour of having my first audience with His Highness the Amir of Kuwait for presenting my Letter of Credentials from Hon’ble President of India. I was privileged to meet him again while accompanying External Affairs Minister H.E. Mrs. Swaraj. His goodwill and affection for India was always evident in all his gestures for which I am grateful. India shares similar warm sentiments towards the State of Kuwait..

Kuwait is a major and reliable crude oil and LPG supplier to India. It is important that both countries endeavor to maintain the crucial position that Kuwait enjoys in India’s energy security. India has consistently been among Kuwait’s top trading partners and the total annual bilateral trade has now crossed US $ 8.5 billion. Indian Public Sector Undertakings such as Air India, Life Insurance Corporation of India, etc, along with several other large Indian companies including Larsen & Toubro, Shapoorji Pallonji, Punj Lloyd, Essar, Simplex Project Ltd., Tata Services India Ltd. etc, among others, have been actively present in Kuwait. Kuwait is a major investing nation while India is highly rated profitable investment destination; this synergy, given the level of confidence in the relationship, needs to be explored further for mutual benefit.

As I underlined at the outset, people-to-people dimension is a very important pillar of India-Kuwait relations. According to figures from official sources, Indian nationals working in Kuwait at present are over 930 thousands, and constitute the largest of the expatriate communities based here. This is not a mere statistic but a statement of trust and confidence demonstrated by the Kuwaiti government and the people in the peace-loving and law-abiding nature of Indian people, and is reflective of Kuwait’s respect for India’s cultural and civilizational ethos. The Indian community in Kuwait, which is present in almost all segments of Kuwaiti economy, has been playing a major role in the constantly growing upward trajectory of India-Kuwait relations. It would be my endeavor as India’s envoy to Kuwait to work closely with the Government of Kuwait to ensure that this human resource and people-defined dimension becomes an even more important and positive instrument towards furthering India’s ever-blossoming bilateral relationship with Kuwait. The welfare and well-being of the Indian Community in Kuwait has always been and will continue to be among the highest priorities of the Embassy. It will be this Mission’s endeavour, in cooperation with the Kuwaiti authorities, Community associations, and well-wishers & volunteers of the Community, to address all issues and ensure the welfare of the Indian Community in Kuwait so that it can continue to provide a strong impetus to India-Kuwait relations.

Once again, on this joyous and proud occasion of the Republic Day of India, I wish every Indian in Kuwait good health and happiness. I also take this opportunity to convey my Best Wishes for the continued good health and well-being of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, His Highness the Prime Minister, Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, and to the friendly people of the State of Kuwait.

Jai Hind!

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