The four day visit of HH the Prime Minister of Kuwait to India has infused a fresh boost and a new direction to the warm and historic ties with New Delhi, which led to signing of five major pacts besides exploring new areas of cooperation and expansion of bilateral ties.
"We have discussed bilateral relations and agreed to exert more efforts to bolster cooperation in all domains," HH Sheikh Jaber said in a press conference following the meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday
"During this visit, a number of cooperation agreements between Kuwait and Indian have been signed." HH the Prime Minister highlighted the historic, strong and fruitful relations between the two Asian nations over years.
He underlined that Kuwait is looking forward towards achieving higher levels of cooperation and coordination in order to take these historic relations to new heights and materialize the aspirations of peoples of the two nations.
He stated that he discussed with the Premier Singh cooperation in countering terrorism affairs, and the pivotal role of India in maintaining security and stability in west Asia region.
HH Sheikh Jaber added that they also tackled regional and international issues of common concern. He expressed gratitude to the Indian government for the great hospitality he and his accompanying delegation have received since they arrived in India.
Earlier, the two premiers attended the signing ceremony of five bilateral cooperation agreements and memos of understanding. After his meeting with Sheikh Jaber on Friday, Indian Prime Minister described Kuwait as a strategic partner and held extensive talks on issues including cooperation in energy and investments as well as labor laws after which the two sides inked five pacts.
The agreements, signed after the talks between the two leaders, who were accompanied by high-level delegations, included transfer of sentenced persons and cooperation in the field of culture and education. "Kuwait is one of our most valued partners and a close friend which is critical for India’s energy security, and among the biggest destinations for our exports and where more than seven hundred thousand Indians work and earn their livelihoods," Singh said at a joint media event with the visiting dignitary.
Referring to the Indian workers, Singh said "I requested the Prime Minister for the continued support of the Kuwaiti leadership to ensure that the full protection of Kuwaiti laws and labor welfare measures is available to them". The Kuwaiti leader appreciated the contribution made by Indian workers in his country.
This comes in the backdrop of deportation of huge number of illegal Indian workers from Gulf countries, including Kuwait, following strict implementation of their labor laws. Singh said they discussed the development of a more strategic partnership in the energy sector through long-term supply contracts on mutually beneficial terms and the establishment of upstream and downstream joint ventures in the petroleum and petrochemical sectors.
"India has proposed several specific projects for investments by the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation. I am encouraged by Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber’s response and I am hopeful that we can translate some of these proposals into concrete symbols of cooperation very soon," he said.
Singh said he has also conveyed to the Kuwaiti leader that India offers attractive investment opportunities for his country in the infrastructure sector. "Our two sides will undertake discussions on specific proposals and appropriate investment vehicles for channelising Kuwaiti investments in India. A delegation of the Kuwait Investment Authority is expected to make an early visit to India in this context," the Indian Prime Minister said. With Kuwait having a $350 billion sovereign wealth fund which is increasing by USD 25 million every year, India is hoping that the fund can be utilised towards investments in the country.
India and Kuwait today signed several agreements, including one on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. After the agreement on transfer of sentenced persons, the convicts of both countries can serve their remaining sentences of imprisonment or any other form of punishment in their own country.
Besides, a MoU was signed between the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), Ministry of External Affairs and the Saud N. Al-Sabah Kuwait Diplomatic Institute (KDI), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kuwait for promoting cooperation between the FSI and KDI, including exchange of information on structure and content of training programmes, exchange of trainees, students, faculty members, experts and researchers.
In addition to these, two MoUs were signed for cooperation in the field of sports, cultural and educational exchange. The Prime Minister of Kuwait, who arrived here on Thursday for a four-day visit, called on Vice-President Hamid Ansari, and had meetings with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Minister for Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma.