India, Kuwait decide to establish joint ministerial commission to expand ties

The decision was taken during talks between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his visiting Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah.

Published: 18th March 2021 08:33 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th March 2021 08:33 PM   |  A+A-

MEA Jaishankar with Kuwati FM Ahmed Nasser Mohammed AlSabah . (Photo | Twitter)


NEW DELHI: India and Kuwait on Thursday decided to establish a joint ministerial commission that will formulate a framework to strengthen ties in sectors like energy, economy, investment, manpower and labour and information technology.

The decision was taken during talks between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his visiting Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah.

Al-Sabah handed over to Jaishankar a letter from Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

The Kuwaiti foreign minister arrived here on Wednesday evening on a nearly 18-hour visit.

In their deliberations, the two foreign ministers explored ways and means to impart further dynamism in the traditional and friendly ties, while Jaishankar invited more investments from Kuwait into India in sectors like energy, infrastructure, food security, healthcare and education, the MEA said.

It said the joint commission at the level of foreign ministers will steer the relationship and act as an umbrella body for all bilateral institutional engagements.

"The government of the State of Kuwait, and the government of the Republic of India, desirous to enhance and deepen the ties of fraternity and friendship, and support ways of cooperation in all fields in service of the common objectives of both the countries, decide to establish a joint commission," said a joint statement.

It said the commission will be charged with formulating the required basis to strengthen ties in the fields of energy, trade, economy, investment, human resources, manpower and labour, finance, culture, information technology, health, education, defence and security.

The commission will also review agreements concluded between the two countries and find suitable solutions for any issues in their implementation.

Apart from the existing joint working groups (JWGs) on hydrocarbons, manpower and mobility, and healthcare, new JWGs on trade and investments, defence and security are envisaged to be established, the MEA said in a statement.

It said the Kuwaiti foreign minister thanked India for supplying his country with 200,000 doses of 'Made in India' Covishield vaccines.

On his part, Jaishankar thanked the leadership and the government of Kuwait for hosting a large Indian community and taking care of them during the pandemic.

"He hoped that Indian community would be able to resume travel to Kuwait in larger numbers soon. He also expressed India's continued support to the State of Kuwait in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic," the MEA said.

It said both the sides emphasised the need to enhance cooperation in the area of health security.

Both the ministers also reviewed the latest regional and international developments, and agreed to coordinate closely on issues of mutual interest in multilateral forums.

India is amongst the largest trading partners of Kuwait.

"There are significant opportunities for further strengthening and deepening ties in sectors such as energy, trade, healthcare, defence and security, science and technology, IT, cyber security, culture, education and tourism," the MEA said.

Earlier, Jaishankar welcomed the Kuwaiti foreign minister to India.

"Glad to welcome this morning, along with @MOS_MEA, FM @anmas71 of Kuwait. Productive discussions on our bilateral agenda & regional developments," Jaishankar said on Twitter.

"Will co-chair Joint Commission with him to elevate our relationship further," he added.

Kuwait remains a reliable supplier of crude oil and LPG to India.

Historically, India-Kuwaiti ties have always had an important trade dimension.

India has consistently been among the top trading partners of Kuwait.

In the financial year 2019-20, Kuwait was the 10th largest oil supplier to India and it met about 3.8 per cent of India's energy needs.

The total bilateral trade with Kuwait during 2019-20 was USD 10.86 billion, according to official data.

Around 641,000 Indians are living in Kuwait and the community adds an important dimension to the ties between the two countries.

In its statement, the MEA said the two sides will also jointly celebrate the 60th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations during 2021-22.


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