New Delhi, Feb 25 (IANS) External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Friday left for Kuwait on a three-day visit to represent India in the oil-rich Gulf state’s 50th anniversary of independence celebration. His visit is important as it will provide him a window to the current situation in the restive Middle East and the Gulf region.
Krishna had visited Kuwait in February last year, his first stop in the Gulf region after taking over as the foreign minister.
Bilateral trade between the countries was $9.031 billion in 2009-10 and is currently estimated at $10.5 billion.
Kuwait is a major supplier of oil and oil products to India, accounting for about 10-12 percent of total crude imports. India is keen to tap Kuwaiti investment, particularly in the infrastructure sector. India needs an estimated $150 billion in infrastructure investment in this decade.
Kuwait is home to around 600,000 Indians who work in diverse fields such as banking, petroleum companies, investment funds and IT firms. They also form the back-up community who keep the wheels of day-to-day life running through jobs such as cooks and chauffeurs.
Kuwait is holding celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of its independence Feb 25, 20th anniversary of Liberation Feb 26 and fifth anniversary of the emir’s accession to office Jan 29. The month-long celebrations commenced Jan 26, which is also India’s Republic Day.
The Gulf state gained independence from Britain June 19, 1961. In May 1964, a formal decision was made to celebrate Kuwait’s National Day Feb 25, in honour of the late Emir Sheikh Abdallah Al-Salim Al-Sabah, whose rule had began the same day in 1950. Kuwait was liberated from Iraqi occupation Feb 26, 1991.
Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah became the 15th emir of Kuwait Jan 29, 2006.