Kuwait and India: A Relationship to go down in the History books

Posted on 1/27/2019

Kuwait now known around the world as the “Oil King” ,was once around 260 yrs ago was a barren land full of sand, lacking in greenery and development. Neither did they have oil nor did they have money. Prior to Kuwait’s oil discovery from the early 19th century Indian’s and the Kuwaitis first started trading dates and pedigreed horses as at those times in India people valued Arabian dates and horses as the best in the world. Many influential rulers like Rani Lakshmibai and many more used Arabian horses to strengthen their cavalry. But this trade ended in 1945 after the WWII as modern war technology began to grew and horses and elephants in wars was no more to be used in wars.

As we know before rich oil traders, Kuwaitis were were pearl fishers and ship builders, their economy basically revolved around the Sea. At this time the Indo-Kuwait trading relations turned towards pearls and teakwood. They used teakwood to build their boats, which was in high demand in India thus the relations between the countries started flourishing.

Even though trading relations between Kuwait and India had already been established there were no diplomatic relations between the countries, that was until June 1962 when Yacoub Abdulaziz Al Rasheed was appointed as the first Kuwaiti ambassador to India.
This was able to happen as India was one of the first countries to recognize Kuwait as a friend. The emir of Kuwait even maintained a house at Marine Drive in Bombay as Bombay was a hub for many trade and business activities in 1950’s and 60’. Due to such Indian philosophy the Kuwaitis were the first ones to help India during the war with China in 1962.

In between there were many ups and downs in the Indo-Kuwait relationship like the demolition of the Babri Masjid angered the Kuwaitis who thought that the Masjid should not have been demolished or the other time how the India was the only country to shift their embassy from Kuwait to Basra during the Gulf War. But this all ended when in 1992 the External Affairs Minister Madhasinvh Solanki, pulled of a “Diplomatic Triumph” by visiting Kuwait as he solved the ongoing strains between the countries.

There have been many bilateral visits between the 2 countries. As from India 2 former Vice Presidents Dr. Zakir Hussain in 1965 and Mr. Hamid Ansari in 2009 and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1981 have led visits to the rich land of Kuwait. While the Crown Prince and Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah in 1964, the Emir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in 1980 and 1983 and the Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in 2006 have led state visits from Kuwait to India.

Another strong tie between the countries was established when the tender between the two countries was signed in 1961 inroducing Kuwait to the Gulf Rupee. In past Kuwait Airways has also owned some percentage of share in the Air India.

Today Indians form the largest and the most respected expatriates group in Kuwait, numbering about 650,000 Indians living in Kuwait today. Indian employment in many white collar sectors in Kuwait is increasing rapidly especially in electronic, architectural, industrial and engineering sectors. As the Indians have been described by the Emir's special envoy as having acquired a special space in Kuwait as "a brilliant and the least problematic expatriate community which works or the overall development of Kuwait".

As we just celebrated the Republic day of India and are Going to celebrate the National and Liberation day of Kuwait we just hope to continue maintaining healthy relationships with our one of, if not the best friends of all time- Kuwait. This condition of this relationship will affect the relationship between the next generation India and next generation Kuwait.

In my or I should say our future relationship with Kuwait I would like to only hope good diplomatic and economic relations, And wish that one day these 2 countries’ relationship would be used as a positive example to influence relations between other countries.



Report:
Mohammad Abdullah , VIII-B, ICSK Khaitan



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