On this joyous occasion of the 71st Republic Day, I convey my warm greetings and best wishes to all my fellow Indians in Kuwait. I would specifically like to take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation and gratitude to all the friends and well-wishers of India in Kuwait, particularly to the leadership, the people and the Government of Kuwait, for their steadfast commitment to the continued close and friendly relations between India and Kuwait. I would like to reiterate that Government of India reciprocates this commitment and is keen to further strengthen and expand this mutually enriching relationship. Multifaceted bilateral relations between our two friendly countries are rooted in history and have been sustained and nourished by age-old linkages and the ever-deepening people-to-people affinities.
As you are all aware, Republic Day commemorates the day when the Indian Constitution came into effect. This year shall be our nation’s 71st Republic Day. This is an occasion when we commemorate the values of our democracy and Republic and reaffirm our commitment to the most prized national inheritance, the Indian Constitution, and its eternal values and guiding principles. The 26th day of January is a historic one in the annals of our long and rich history as it marked the completion of India’s transition towards becoming an Independent Republic. We, as a nation, have come a long way since that historic day by building on the untiring efforts and hard work of every successive generation. However, we must be mindful of the fact that our journey is far from complete. We must continue to move ahead together in a much more determined way in this wonderful voyage of ours to redeem the pledge we made not only for the well-being of the people of our nation but also to the larger cause of humanity.
India remains one of the most sought after investment destinations in the world with ever-growing foreign direct investments. During the year, our government continued to undertake various structural reforms (taxation, corporate affairs, labour, FDI) and introduce economic growth measures (credit availability, infrastructure investments) to fasten the pace of growth and development. It is a matter of pride for all of us that our efforts to reform our business environment is bearing fruit. In the latest Ease of Doing Business rankings, released by the World Bank in 2019, India stood at 63, an improvement of an unprecedented 79 places since 2014 — a phenomenal achievement for a major economy. Our economy, currently approximately $2.7 trillion, is already the sixth largest in the world (third largest on a purchasing power basis).
A nation of skilled, innovative and talented youth, possessing a favourable demographic dividend and a stable eco-political environment, it is well within our reach to reach $5 trillion GDP in the next 5 years and even $10 trillion by the turn of the decade. We are also poised to be the 3rd largest consumer market by 2030, and there is no wonder then that we are seen as the land of opportunities, of growth, of a bright and prosperous future, and without a shadow of doubt, a major driver of global economic fortune.
In 2019, we celebrated the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, who remains the moral compass of our nation and whose teachings and way of life continue to be a yardstick to measure our deeds and actions. Successful launch of the Mission to Moon (Chandrayaan 2) was yet another historic first which reinforced the rapid technological strides made by India in space science and other scientific disciplines and has also bolstered our credentials as a leading scientific nation. Indians all over the world can not only take pride in our achievements but also be confident of our country assuming a leadership position in many of the new age industries — Robotics, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence etc. Further, continuous reforms and qualitative upgrade of the education system should equip the youth of our country to stay ahead of the curve and be torchbearers of the next century in every sphere of human endeavour.
‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas’ is the guiding principle of India’s external policy. This is also in line with India’s ancient belief of Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam: the world is a family. In this spirit, our policy has always aimed at creating an environment of peace and security in which the world can be a better place for the entire humanity to live with dignity and in prosperity. One prime example of how India’s foreign policy is oriented towards greater good of the world is our leadership and commitment to sustainable environment.
India is a co-founder of the International Solar Alliance, which is a global alliance of more than 120 countries for development and promotion of solar energy. India has an unwavering faith in multilateralism, we work bilaterally, regionally and globally with like-minded countries to tackle issues of common concern such as climate change, energy security, food security, international terrorism, and the reform of multilateral institutions, including the UN Security Council.
The Gulf and Middle East region is an extended neighborhood for India. Peace, security and stability of countries in this region is imperative for prosperity and economic development of India. We have shared interests in the areas of energy, trade, investments, security and human capital. The region is one of our largest trading partners, an important source for India’s energy (oil & gas) requirements and is home to about 8.5 million Indians. Through bilateral and regional institutional mechanisms, India has built closer ties with all the nations in the region.
Allow me to inform all our friends that India-Kuwait relations continued to strengthen and expand during the year 2019. Minister of State for External (and Parliamentary) Affairs of India Shri V. Muraleedharan paid an official visit to Kuwait in September 2019 and held productive discussions with senior dignitaries in the Government of State of Kuwait. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my special gratitude to the Government of State of Kuwait for the warm and gracious hospitality accorded to the visiting delegation. Other high level visits under various existing institutional mechanisms were also undertaken resulting in considerable progress on cooperative frameworks in the areas of defence, manpower, external policies and others.
Bilateral commercial ties have also witnessed a renewed momentum with increasing trade and investment exchanges. A delegation led by the President of Kuwait’s Civil Aviation visited India and many business delegations from Kuwait have visited India to participate in various business events. To facilitate commercial exchanges between the two countries, Embassy of India successfully organized a Healthcare Exhibition, a Seminar on Indian tourism, an Exhibition and Seminar on the Education opportunities in the State of Gujarat, business roadshows for delegations from the States of Goa and Tamil Nadu and G2B meetings for an official delegation from the State of Andhra Pradesh. It is heartening to inform that Indian companies continue to operate successfully and are setting new highs with every passing year; thereby, reinforcing Brand India — as one that stands for quality and excellence. Kuwait is a major investing nation while India is a highly rated profitable investment destination; this synergy, given the level of confidence in the relationship, needs to be explored further for mutual benefit.
Embassy also organized various other events, including Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas, 5th International Yoga Day, World Environment Day, World Cycling Day, Hala Diwali, Constitution Day and various other events to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The year has also witnessed celebrations in connection with the 550th birth anniversary of Shri Guru Nanak Devji. I am delighted to convey my hearty Felicitations and cordial greetings to all my Sikh friends resident in Kuwait on this important landmark. In this regard, I would also like to extend my sincere gratitude to all the esteemed guests who graced our events with their presence and to all the friends of India who collaborated with the Embassy to make all these events highly successful and memorable.
Significance of people-to-people dimension in our bilateral relationship cannot be overemphasized. These ties form the bedrock of this strong, close and abiding friendship between our two friendly countries. Presence of over a million Indians in this friendly, peace-loving and vibrant nation of Kuwait is a testimony to the enduring spirit of cooperation between the two countries and its peoples. In all my interactions with the Kuwaiti leadership at various levels in specific, and with the people of Kuwait in general, a consistent theme that stood out was the generous appreciation of the Indian Community in Kuwait and a recognition of their contribution towards the development of the State of Kuwait.
I have been repeatedly reassured that the Indian Community in Kuwait enjoys the highest level of trust and confidence of the friendly people of Kuwait. This is reflective of the values that we espouse and cherish, our law abiding nature, peaceful and friendly disposition and our pluralistic values that celebrate diversity. I am quite confident that my dear Indian citizens in Kuwait will continue to uphold these high ideals, values and standards, abide by local laws and regulations and exert their utmost efforts in contributing towards the economic development of this friendly host country. Embassy will continue to place welfare and well-being of the Indian Community in Kuwait at the forefront of its endeavours. In cooperation with the Kuwaiti authorities, community associations, well-wishers and volunteers of the Community, Embassy will strive with even more vigor to address all issues and ensure the welfare of the Indian Community in Kuwait so that it can continue to provide a strong impetus to India-Kuwait relations.
Once again, on this joyous and proud occasion of the Republic Day of India, I wish every Indian national in Kuwait good health and happiness. I also take this opportunity to convey my best wishes for the continued good health and well-being of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al Hamad Al-Sabah, His Excellency the Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Nasir Al-Muhammad Al-Sabah, and to the friendly people of the State of Kuwait.
H.E. K. Jeeva Sagar
Ambassador of India to Kuwait