The Relationship Between Two Great Countries

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Kuwait celebrates the 61st anniversary of its National Day on 25th February. Celebrating this joyous event, India extends warm greetings and best wishes to all Kuwait citizens. On this occasion we take a brief look at bilateral relations between India and Kuwait and how the strong ties between the two friendly countries have withstood the test of time and grown stronger over the years.

Close and friendly relations between India and Kuwait are rooted in history and have withstood the currents of time. Discovery of Indian artefacts such as pottery and jewelry from Failaka Island in Kuwait point to commercial and cultural interactions dating back several millennia. Over the centuries, historical trade links, arising from geographical proximity and cultural affinities, gave rise to social ties that have been cemented over time.

Relations between the two countries before the discovery of oil in Kuwait involved seafaring Kuwaiti merchants traveling to ports along the western coast of India. Initially, trade was in dates, pearls and pedigreed Arabian horses for the stables of India’s maharajas and other wealthy families, in exchange for teak wood, food grains and other essential commodities that Kuwait needed.

With the discovery in the late 1930s of oil in Kuwait, the country embarked on a path of progress and transformation that led to the creation of a modern independent state in 1961. India was among the first countries to recognize the independent State of Kuwait in 1962, and this gesture of solidarity was reciprocated when Kuwait became one of the first countries to lend moral support to India during the Chinese aggression of 1962.

Kuwait and its new-found wealth soon attracted Indian workers, technicians and merchants to the country; first in a trickle and then in a flow which has continued over the years.

Today, the Indian diaspora in Kuwait form the largest expatriate community in the country. It is noteworthy that through the years, the leadership, government and people of both countries have remained committed to maintaining the age-old bilateral relations and look forward to strengthening and expanding this mutually enriching experience in the years to come.

Through the centuries of trade ties and the nearly six decades of diplomatic relations between the two countries the relationship has gone from strength to strength further enhancing the people-to-people relations. The presence of nearly a million Indians in Kuwait and the thousands of Kuwaitis who make regular trips to India for business, education, tourism and healthcare needs attest to the ongoing strong ties between peoples of the two countries.

India-Kuwait bilateral relations have continued to intensify with increasing number of high-level bilateral visits on both sides. In October 2018, the then Hon’ble External Affairs Minister of India Mrs. Sushma Swaraj (May her soul rest in peace), visited Kuwait.

During the visit she called-on His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the then Prime Minister H.E. Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah and held wide ranging discussions with the then Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister and current Prime Minister of Kuwait H.E. Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, as well as held productive discussions that covered all dimensions of bilateral relations with other senior dignitaries in Kuwait Government.

Indian public sector companies in the aviation insurance and telecommunication sector have been operating in Kuwait for ages, while Indian private companies from the construction, power and petroleum sectors, such as Larsen & Toubro, Punj Lloyd and Kalpataru have implemented several major projects in Kuwait.

Meanwhile, state-owned companies in Kuwait such as Kuwait Petroleum Corporation and Kuwait Airways have offices in India and several large companies from the private sector in Kuwait, including Al-Ghanim Group, the KAPICO Group, Global Investment House and Kuwait Finance House have been doing business in India. In recent years, India and Kuwait have been exploring possibilities of joint-venture projects in the oil and gas sector in both countries, and Indian companies are active in bidding for projects in Kuwait mega infrastructure development program.

As part of its efforts to improve and increase trade, commerce and tourism, the Indian Embassy in Kuwait regularly organizes trade exhibitions, seminars and facilitates participation of Indian delegations in international trade exhibitions in Kuwait, as well as encourage business delegations from Kuwait to visit India.

In March 2019, the embassy organized a two-day exhibition, ‘Best of Indian Healthcare Expo 2019’, which witnessed participation of over 20 exhibitors, including leading Indian hospitals and healthcare centers, alternative healthcare providers, wellness centers and prominent medical travel planners from various parts of India, showcasing India’s finest healthcare advancements. The embassy also held roadshows in 2019 to promote trade events in the States of Goa and Tamil Nadu.

India and Kuwait participate in various global forums and international gatherings where the two sides share consensus on issues of global dimension and support just causes around the world. Both countries have called for non-interference in the internal matters of other countries, constructive engagement over aggression, non-discriminatory global trade practices, and equitable global responsibility for the protection of the environment, disarmament, regional stability, international peace and sustainable growth among other issues.

In the nearly three-quarters of a century that India has been independent, the country has achieved tremendous growth and development that has at times been slow and at others rapid. Through these often tumultuous and chequered years, India has maintained a proactive and pragmatic foreign policy that fundamentally considers the world community as part of a single large global family whose members must live together in peace and harmony, work and grow together and have trust in each other for the benefit of all humanity.

This Indian growth story and its success is a triumph of our collective human spirit — it is a triumph of hope, of devotion, of hard work, of dedication to not only the well-being of the people of our nation but also to those in other countries and to the larger cause of humanity.






Umar Ashraf, IX-C, Indian Community School Kuwait-Khaitan



By:
Umar Ashraf, IX-C, Indian Community School Kuwait-Khaitan
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