General (Dr.) V. K. Singh (Retd), Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs, Government of India, visited Kuwait on 6-7 September, 2016. During the visit, he held a wideranging discussions with H.E. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, First Deputy Prime Minister & Foreign Minister and H.E. Mr. Khaled Suleiman Al-Jarallah, Deputy Foreign Minister, on bilateral, regional and community issues. It has been agreed by both sides that the meetings for the bilateral institutional mechanisms viz. Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC), Foreign Office Consultations (FOCs) and various Joint Working Groups (JWGs) would be held regularly to further strengthen cooperation in various areas.
Hon’ble Minister also met with H.E. Hind Al-Sabeeh, Minister of Social Affairs and Labour (also Minister of State for Development and Planning Affairs) to discuss issues concerning Indian workers, both in domestic as well as private sectors, including the repatriation of about 29,000 Indians, who do not have valid visas, and non-payment of salaries to Indian workers in Kharafi National. During meeting with H.E. Sheikh Faisal Al-Homoud Al-Malek Al-Sabah, Governor of Farwaniya, he discussed issues concerning Indian community residing in Abbasiya.
He a lso visited a labour camp of Larsen & Toubro executing a GC-30 project of Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) and interacted with about 350 workers. A reception was held by Ambassador in the honor of visiting Minister on 6 September, where he interacted with about 60 prominent Indians from various walks of life in Kuwait.
The Hon’ble Minister unveiled the statue of Mahatma Gandhi on the Indian Embassy premises on 7 September, the first statue in the Gulf region, to promote Gandhi’s message of peace, communal harmony, nonviolence and cleanliness. He held media and community interactions in the Embassy with about 350 members of the Indian community, who shared the issues concerning them.
He also paid a visit to prominent Indian Businessman in Kuwait, Mathunny Mathews (popularly known as Toyota Mathews) at his residence and wished him a speedy recovery. Mr. Mathews played an active role in the evacuation of Indians during 1990-91. During his visit to Kuwait, the Minister visited various places of historical and cultural importance viz. Kuwait Towers, Grand mosque, Fatima Zahra Mosque and Al Hashemi-II, the largest dhow ever built.
All issues concerning Indian community were addressed during the visit particularly the recruitment of nurses, Indian Community School, parental visas to Indian nationals born before 1950, land for a Hindu temple, cremation facilities, status of Indian prisoners, commutation of death sentence of 17 Indian nationals and surge in pricing by Air India.