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Kuwait-India: Relations, span centuries

Mohammed Umar Saad, IIK Young Contributor Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Kuwait-India: Relations, span centuries

For centuries, Arabia has always maintained a connection with India. Trade, being the settled Arab’s profession, back then, was the main reason for this long-maintained connection.

However, when talking of, in particular, Kuwait, relations were established for centuries. This is what we know from the excavations in Failaka.

Officially, relations stablished during rule of late Shaikh Mubarak Al-Sabah, when Kuwait had become a British protectorate, and India was a colony part of the vast British empire.

This happened in the year 1895.

On the other hand, Diplomatic relations between Independent India and Kuwait established in June 1962, with the appointment of Yacoub Abdulaziz al-Rushaid as the first Kuwaiti Ambassador to India.

And, The first resident Embassy was set-up in 1967. Shri I. S. Chopra was appointed as India's first resident Ambassador to Kuwait.

Since that time, both friendly countries exchanged tours on the higher leadership and trade and other fields of cooperation and mutual committees.

Vice-President of India, Dr Zakir Husain in 1965 , then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1981, and Hamid Ansari in 2009 have visited Kuwait, while Crown Prince and Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah in 1964, the late Emir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in 1980 , 1983 and the late Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in 2006 have led state official visits to friendly country India.

India and Kuwait’s relations, extend much beyond Political relations; they include trade, cultural, and social relations too.

Professor Abdullah Al-Aleem writes:

“Our fathers and grandfathers in Kuwait always spoke of India with respect, friendliness and appreciation, because they knew a lot about it through their travel there, and stay there, and their communication with its people, and their getting to know the customs of the Indian people and being influenced by them in knowledge, the arts, and many walks of public life.”

When we go through the history books we find that A number of Kuwaiti families lived in India for many years during the period from the middle of the 19th century until after the middle of the 20th century.

Most of Kuwaiti merchants resided in the city of Mumbai as their headquarters, where Kuwaiti ships used to go there to sell dates, load wood, and trade in pearls and various other goods.

With the time, a large Kuwaiti community became highly active and constantly present in Mumbai. At that time Muhammad Ali Street of Mumbai was famous as a meeting place for Kuwaitis and it contained a number of stores belonging to Kuwaitis residing in India. Among those stores was one of the most famous cafes named after the late Yousef bin Saif. Since that time bilateral relationship is on the continuous rise.

Today, bilateral trade between both countries has touched all time-high of approximately 12.5 billion.

And , there are 9.78 lac Indians live in Kuwait and fulfil the man power needs of the friendly country and enjoy a second home on its loved land.

Mohammed Umar Saad
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