By Abrar Aloqaili
India’s Foreign Secretary for Gulf, West Asia and North Africa, Ambassador Muktesh Pardeshi, has revealed that his country is preparing for high-level visits between India and Kuwait after the formation of the new Kuwaiti government.
He said that a memorandum of understanding is ready to be signed between the two countries, which would help to develop economic relations between India and Kuwait, to the mutual benefit of the two countries and their friendly peoples.
Speaking at a press conference with representatives of a number of Kuwaiti and Gulf newspapers, at the headquarters of the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, Pardeshi said that the bilateral visits would help to strengthen and consolidate the relationship and to explore new ideas.
He emphasised that there are many opportunities and areas for cooperation, especially in the field of security and defense, depending on the needs and requirements of Kuwait, in addition to the fields of pharmaceutical industries and information technology, in which India has long and accumulated experience.
He noted that the relations between the peoples of the two countries are old and long-standing, dating back more than two centuries.
He pointed out that his country offers an attractive investment climate with stable returns, and that the trade volume between Kuwait and India last year reached about $13.8 billion.
“There has been a significant increase in the volume of Gulf investments in India”, he said, explaining that there are many opportunities for Gulf investors in India in the fields of food industries, petrochemicals, as well as defense and information technology.
On the level of India-Gulf relations, Pardeshi pointed out that they are historic, noting that the trade exchange between the two sides reached $184 billion last year, which witnessed an increase of 20% in the past two years.
He added that Gulf countries are India’s largest regional trading partner, adding that “the relations between India and Gulf countries are a success story.”
He stated that the past period has seen mutual efforts between the two sides to diversify the basket of trade exchange. This was because in the past it had been focused on the energy sector.
Efforts have now been made to include engineering equipment, rice, oil products, textiles, and organic products in trade.
Moreover, the partnership in the field of energy is of great importance to India, as India imported crude oil worth $58 billion in 2023, while Indian imports of gas were worth $26 billion in the same period.
Pardeshi also pointed out that there are 9 million Indian citizens working in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, stressing that they are skilled and semi-skilled workers.
He brought to attention that India is considered the largest and fastest-growing center for start-ups in the field of technology, noting that it is the fifth fastest-growing economy in the world, and the largest democracy in the world.