REG 201013 Pradhan kuwait-1602597221623
Indian Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan with Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf Al Jaber Al Sabah, during a meeting, in Kuwait. Image Credit: PTI

Kuwait City: India’s Minister of petroleum and natural gas, Dharmendra Pradhan, arrived in Kuwait on Monday to offer his condolences to the new Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmed Al Sabah on the passing of the late Emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas said in a tweet that Pradhan stated, “that HH Late Emir was regarded for his vast diplomatic experience and contributed immensely to regional peace, security & stability. He was instrumental in strengthening India-Kuwait bilateral ties, and always cared for the Indian community in Kuwait.”

Pradhan offered condolences on behalf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In response, Sheikh Nawaf stated that the relationship between the two countries has a long history and will continue to progress for mutual benefit.

During his two-day visit to Kuwait, Pradhan also met with Kuwait’s Minister of Oil and Acting Minister of Electricity and Water, Dr Khaled Al Fadhel, where they discussed how to enhance their energy partnership, which included a two-way investment in regards to the oil and gas sector.

Close relations

After the 91-year-old Emir passed away last month, India observed a one-day mourning period and flew its national flag at half-mast on all buildings across the country.

In addition, the Indian Embassy urged all Indians in Kuwait to observe two minutes of silence on October 4 at 11am to mourn the loss of Sheikh Sabah.

Prime Minister Modi described the late Emir as a “beloved leader of the Arab world and a close friend of India.”

Sheikh Sabah visited India twice since he was sworn in as Emir, once in 2006 in an official capacity and then in 2017 for personal reasons.

As for Modi, he accepted an invitation to visit Kuwait in 2017, which was expected to be the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister in the past 35 years.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, India sent a team of 15 doctors and medical professionals to help Kuwait combat the spread of the virus.

Remittances and bilateral trade

The two countries have a shared history of joint cooperation in trade, investments and human resources.

The Indian community is the largest foreign expat community in Kuwait, with around 1.45 million Indians residing in Kuwait. Indians make up 36 per cent of the entire population of Kuwait, which is 4 million.

In 2019, $6.3 billion in remittance was sent from Kuwait to India, according to a research study by the Washington Post.

For Financial Year 2019-2020 the two countries had a bilateral trade that totalled approximately $10.8 billion. The two countries first signed a trade agreement back in 1974.

Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), the state’s sovereign wealth fund, has invested around $5 billion in India.

In regards to petroleum and natural gas, the sixth largest crude oil supplier to India is Kuwait.