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India Kuwait relations are deep rooted, EAM Dr S Jaishankar

Sunoj Nambiar, IIK Sunday, June 13, 2021
India Kuwait relations are deep rooted, EAM Dr S Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister of India Dr S Jaishankar was on a three-day official visit to Kuwait from June 9th. During his visit, Dr. Jaishankar met with Kuwait’s Prime Minister and delivered a letter from Indian Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi addressed to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmed Al Sabah.

The visit also comes against the backdrop of India and Kuwait celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations.

In a brief interview with IndiansinKuwait.com, Minister shared his interaction with Kuwaiti leadership and the community issues they addressed.

IIK: Excellency, this is your first visit to Kuwait. However, we understand that you have interacted with your counterpart in Kuwait on a multiple occasions, including through telephonic conversations and his recent visit to India. How do you describe those interactions?

Yes, you are right, this is my first visit to this beautiful and friendly country of Kuwait. I arrived here yesterday and have been received with so much warmth and affection, I am touched and honoured. I had excellent official engagements yesterday with the leadership of the country. I have had a number of interactions with my counterpart and dear friend His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah, Minister of Foreign Affairs of State of Kuwait. We have always had open and friendly conversations. Although his visit to India was a short one, we made significant progress in strengthening our bilateral relations. We announced upgradation of the Joint Ministerial Commission to the level of Foreign Ministers. This is a quantum leap in our bilateral engagement. We have also agreed to set up new Joint Working Groups across various fields. An MoU for Cooperation on the Recruitment of Domestic Workers was also signed. There is excitement, enthusiasm and more importantly optimism on both sides to take our partnerships to newer heights.

IIK: Indians are the largest expatriate grouping in Kuwait. Did diaspora matters feature significantly in your bilateral talks?

People-to-people relations form the core of the bilateral relations between our two countries. There are close to a million Indian nationals working and living here peacefully. They are contributing significantly to the growth and development of this country. I am proud to say that I have heard effusive praise and admiration from the entire leadership of Kuwait for the Indian Community in Kuwait. Nonetheless, given the size of the Community, there are bound to be some issues or matters concerning the Indian diaspora that featured in our bilateral talks. I am pleased to say that we have made progress on each of the issues.

IIK: Have you requested for facilitation of return of Indian nationals to Kuwait?

We look forward to the early return of Indian nationals in Kuwait within the overall ambit of public health safety. Every government is taking precautionary measures and implementing various degrees of control measures including travel restrictions to minimize the risk of spread of infection. These are all hopefully temporary measures and should change as the situation improves. Our Embassy is coordinating closely with the Kuwaiti authorities on this subject.

IIK: India recently went through a devastating phase on account of the second wave of peak COVID-19 infections. What is the current COVID situation in India?

COVID-19 situation in India has improved significantly over the last couple of weeks. The number of new daily infections have now come down to less than a quarter of the peak level. The requirement for medical oxygen has also consequently come down. Many States in India have now witnessed their COVID positivity rates dipping below 1%. Our COVID vaccination campaign continues at a fast pace, we have vaccinated more than 246 million people. Our vaccine manufacturing companies are ramping up production and this will be reflected in the ground situation. In this regard, I would like to express my appreciation to the leadership, Government and the friendly people of the State of Kuwait for their timely dispatch of medical oxygen supplies to India.

IIK: Kuwait had recently assisted India in its fight against COVID. There was commitment from the Kuwaiti leadership to ensure all possible assistance be delivered to India. How do you describe this special gesture?

Like I mentioned earlier, relations between India and Kuwait are millennia old. They are deep rooted, anchored in strong people-to-people relations and have been sustained and nourished by civilizational affinities and vibrant exchanges at all levels. We have been standing by each other’s side at all times. Last year, during the peak of the first wave of COVID crisis, India had responded to Kuwait’s call for help by dispatching a 15-member medical team to augment the healthcare infrastructure of this country. In February earlier this year, India again immediately dispatched 200,000 doses of Made-in-India COVISHIELD vaccine to Kuwait. When we went through the second wave in India, we in turn benefited from Kuwait’s generosity. It was one of the first and largest foreign suppliers of medical oxygen during this crisis period. I am extremely grateful to the leadership of the State of Kuwait. There was never a moment of hesitancy. This signifies the strength and depth of our relationship.

IIK: This year marks the 60th year of the Establishment of Diplomatic relations between India and Kuwait. Do you have any special plans on this important milestone?

We have a confluence of milestones this year. This year Kuwait celebrates its 60th Anniversary of its Independence. And as the one of the first countries to have recognized Kuwait’s independence, we celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between our two countries. This year is also the year where we have launched the 2-year long celebrations of the 75th Anniversary of Independence of India. Such confluence is a rare occurrence; and therefore it must be celebrated in an appropriate manner. When I say celebrations, I do not just mean festivals, I am talking in a broader manner. We have just upgraded our institutional engagement architecture; I look forward to increased official interactions which will be a celebration of the strength of our institutional engagements. We are creating a new economic chapter with the launch of Aatmanirbhar Bharat Mission and other flagship programmes of Government of India as part of a vision to build a New India. Kuwait is charting its own Vision of New Kuwait, one which has diversification of the economy at its core. I look forward to increased business collaborations, trade events, bilateral visits of high level business delegations from both sides and a whole lot more; this is what I would call celebration of the partnership of the future. And of course, we have centuries of shared civilizational history, so I would like to see celebrations in the domain of culture, art, sports and a plethora of other areas.

Dr, Jaishankar, a career diplomat with vast experience in Ministry of External Affairs before becoming the minister in the same department, said that his experience and the relationship he made during his career, is a good help now as the minister.

During his visit, Minister also addressed the Indian community virtually and thanked their contributions during the pandemic. The contribution you make, the respect you make abroad, is really what makes India's interaction with the world rather unique, Minister said.



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Express your comment on this article

 
Mujeeb
Sunday, June 13, 2021
Sir what about the approval for vaccine in India?

Asad
Sunday, June 13, 2021
Great to see our External Affairs Minister here. Hope you also discussed the status of Covishield, Covaxin vaccines in Kuwait and Kuwait will take a right decision soon

Saneesh
Sunday, June 13, 2021
Dear Minister, you did a right thing by appointing Sri Sibi george as our Ambassador. He is able to make a good relationship with Kuwait authorities within a year.

All the best for a good india kuwait relationship.
Hope we can expect our prime Minister to Kuwait this time.

Murali
Sunday, June 13, 2021
Dr. Jaishankar is continuing the legacy of Late Sushma Swaraj, by being pro-active and improving the relationship with friendly countries of India.

JAI HIND

Nelson
Sunday, June 13, 2021
Great to know that you discussed the travel issues. Hope Kuwait will soon take a decision as the number of cases in India is decreasing.

Thank you for your visit to Kuwait.

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