Setting a new tone in the bilateral relations between India and Kuwait, Prime Minister HH Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Prime Minister of Kuwait told Indian businessmen that Kuwait is poised to become a financial and commercial hub for domestic and international business, and is diversifying its industrial base for attracting global investment
Addressing captains of Indian industry at a meeting organized jointly by FICCI, CII and ASSOCHAM, the Prime Minister applauded India’s effort
for opening its economy and said, "The stage is now set for building strong bilateral and business relations. India is a grand country with an open market for investment," and urged Kuwaiti business to forge partnerships with their Indian counterparts.
He acknowledged the contribution to the development of Kuwait by the huge support of Indian expatriate community.
India's Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said that the visit of HH The prime Minister is of immense importance and, urged him, to lend his weight for the early conclusion of a Free Trade Agreement currently under negotiation with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Minister Sharma said that Kuwait was the second largest source for India's crude oil requirements and sought greater participation from Kuwaiti companies in the development of upstream and downstream oil projects in India.
India, he said, was well positioned to attain a high growth path. The manufacturing sector was poised to grow at a healthy rate and under the New Manufacturing Policy, new industrial cities and township will come up. The scope for global investment was huge as 13 industrial townships had already been approved, 8 of which are to be developed along the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor which covers six Indian states.
Ms. Naina Lal Kidwai, President of FICCI, in her remarks, noted that "India looks at Kuwait as a long term dependable partner and not just as a supplier meeting India's energy demand. Indian Industry, she said, was keen to participate and partner in the massive on-going economic development in the State of Kuwait in all sectors, including telecom, infrastructure, security, defence, and education."
Mr. Khaled Abdullah Al-Sager, First Vice Chairman of Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), said, "Kuwait is executing a comprehensive economic reform programme relying on more liberation and encouragement of foreign investments and is based on financial abundance, a strong banking and investment system, regulated capital market, advanced infrastructure, fair and just judiciary system, deep-rooted political stability, Gulf customs Union, and free Arab trade that makes Kuwait a main gate to GCC, Arab and regional markets.
Simultaneously he said Kuwait was implementing an ambitious development program targeting building of new cities and ports, developing oilfields, communications sectors, energy and petrochemical industries."
Mr. Khaled Abdullah Al-Sager added, "India is well aware that oil supplies from the bottleneck to their marvelous rise. Likewise, we are fully cognizant that to Kuwait oil represents an opportunity to build a balanced and advanced economy. Consequently, we all know that oil does not only demand from us economic cooperation but also equally makes it a moral international obligation to cooperate politically, so that just and permanent peace would prevail through the world in general and the Middle East in particular."
Mr. T N R Rao, Senior Member - CII Gulf Council & Chairman SAGE (South Asia Gas enterprises Ltd), said, "Bilateral trade between our two nations is strong but the trade balance is skewed in favor of Kuwait. This need to be rectified and the trade basket should be diversified away from hydrocarbons.
Mr. S C Aggarwal, Senior Managing Committee Member, ASSOCHAM and Chairman and Managing Director, SMC Group, said, "The composition of exports to Kuwait has undergone a qualitative change in the post liberalization period. In addition to traditional goods, the area with considerable export potential from India includes pharmaceuticals, medicinal equipment, and equipment for use in refineries and oil installation equipment/products for the power sector."