Kuwait and India enjoy cordial relations since the beginning. Geographical proximity, historical trade links, cultural affinities have all continued to nurture the longstanding relationship over the decades. Until 1961, the Indian currency note – the Rupee was a legal tender in Kuwait.
Kuwait and India are the members of Non-aligned Movement (NAM). Both share identical views on various regional and international matters, and have been cooperating with each other in international forums. High level discussions and consultations between the two friendly countries is a regular feature of bilateral relations.
The Amir of the State of Kuwait, His Highness Shaikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah paid a state visit to India from June 14 – 19, in 2006. During this important visit, three landmark agreements were signed between the State of Kuwait and the Republic of India which include avoidance of Double Taxation, agreement on drug reduction & prevention of illicit trafficking in Narcotic drugs and Executive program for Cultural and Information Exchanges between Kuwait and India between 2006-2008.
Agreements signed Between the State of Kuwait and Republic of India:
Kuwait and India have signed various agreements to provide a framework for the development of bilateral relations between the two friendly countries. These are as follow:
1. Cultural Agreement between the State of Kuwait and the Republic of India signed on November 2, 1970.
2. Trade Agreement between the State of Kuwait and the Republic of India signed on February 13, 1974
3. Cooperation Agreement between the State of Kuwait and the Republic of India signed on February 15, 1992.
4. Protocol between Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) of India signed on June 16, 1995
5. Memorandum of Understanding between Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State of Kuwait and Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India signed on July 9, 2000
6. Memorandum of Understanding on Civil Aviation Matters on August 30, 2001
7. Agreement between the State of Kuwait and the Republic of India for Encouragement and Reciprocal Protection of Investment signed on November 27, 2001
8. Academic Agreement between the Art Faculty of the University of Kuwait and the Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi on December in December 2003.
9. Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters signed on August 25, 2004
10. Extradition Treaty between State of Kuwait and Republic of India signed on August 25, 2004.
11. MOU for Establishment of Indo-Kuwait Strategic Consultation Group signed on August 25, 2004.
12. Agreement on Juridical and Judicial Cooperation in Civil and Commercial Matter signed on August 16, 2005.
13. Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement and for Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income (DTAA) between Kuwait and India signed on June 15, 2006.
14. Agreement on Drug Demand Reduction and Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Precursor Chemicals and Related Matters signed on June 15, 2006.
15. Executive Programme for the Cultural and Information Exchanges between Kuwait and India for the year 2006-2008 signed on June 15, 2006.
16. Memorandum of Understanding on Civil Aviation Matters signed on July 18, 2006.
Important Visits from Kuwait to India
1. The Late Amir, His Highness Shaikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah paid a State visit to India in September 1980 accompanied by the then Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the State of Kuwait.
2. Late His Highness Shaikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah visited again in March 1983 to attend the NAM Summit held in New Delhi.
3. Late Crown Prince and Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait, His Highness Shaikh Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah visited India in 1983
4. The Present Amir of the State of Kuwait, His Highness Shaikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah paid the State Visit from June 14-19, 2006. He was accompanied by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Shaikh Dr. Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, Minister of Energy His Excellency Shaikh Ahmad Fahad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Minister of Finance His Excellency Mr. Bader Mishari Al-Humaidhi and a strong business contingent led by First Vice Chairman of KCCI Mr. Hilal Mishari Al-Mutairi.
5. The Minister of Oil and the Minister of Information, H.E. Shaikh Ahmad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah visited India from September 25-28, 2010. He called on the Vice President, H.E. Mr. Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister, H.E. Dr. Manmohan Singh, besides meeting Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Minister of Information and Broadcasting. He also held discussion with top officials of ONGC and IOC. The visiting Kuwaiti Minister also inaugurated the Al-Sabah Library at India Arab Cultural Centre in Jamia Millia Islamia University.
6. The Governor of Central Bank of Kuwait, His Excellency Shaikh Salim Abdulaziz Al-Sabah paid an official visit to India From March 1 – 2, 2011.
Important Visits from India to Kuwait
Late Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi visited Kuwait in 1981. Other important visits from India to Kuwait included those of H.E. Mr. Madhavsinh Solanki, Minister of External Affairs in February 1992; H.E. Mr. Sukh Ram, Minister of State for Communications on June 7-9, 1993; H.E. Mr. R.L. Bhatia, Minister of State for External Affairs on June 22- 23, 1994; H.E. Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad, Minister of Civil Aviation on February 2-4, 1994; H.E. Captain Satish Sharma, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas on September 16-17, 1995; H.E. Mr. Shivraj Patil, Speaker Lok Sabha on November 5-8, 1995; H.E. Mr. Salman Khurshid, Minister of State for External Affairs on January 6-7, 1996; H.E. Mr. P.A. Sangma, Lok Sabha Speaker on transit visit on July 26, 1997; Shri Atal Bihar Vajpayee, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha on October 21-23, 1997; Smt. Najma Heptullah, Deputy Chariperson of Rajya Sabha on May 22, 2000; H.E. Mr. Ajit Kumar Panja, Minister of State for External Affairs on July 8-11, 2000.
Visit of Hon'ble Vice President of India to Kuwait
The official visit of the Hon'able Vice President of India, H.E. Mr. M. Hamid Ansari, accompanied by Madame Salma Ansari to Kuwait took place from April 6-8, 2009 at the invitation of His Highness Shaikh Nawaf Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Crown Prince of the State of Kuwait.
Three agreements were signed during the visit – Educational Exchange Programme for the period 2009-2011, Agreement on Cooperation in Science & Technology and Cultural Exchange Programme for the period 2009-2011. From the Kuwaiti side, the first two agreements were signed by the Minister of Education H.E. Mrs. Nouriya Subeeh Barrrrrrrrrrrak Al-Subeeh and the last one by Minister of Information H.E. Shaikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. From the Indian side, all the three agreements were signed by the Ambassador of India to Kuwait.
Visit of Indian Ministers to Kuwait
Minister of External Affairs, H.E. Mr. S.M. Krishna visited Kuwait on February 3-4, 2010, during which he met His Highness the Amir, HH the Prime Minister and H.E. the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the State of Kuwait. This was his first visit to a Gulf country since taking charge as Minister of External Affairs. He was accompanied by Secretary (East) Ms. V. Latha Reddy.
Minister of State for Finance, H.E. Mr. Namo Narain Meena, visited Kuwait from December 14-16, 2010. He called on the Minister of Commerce and Industry of Kuwait, H.E. Mr. Ahmad Rashed Al-Haroun and discussed strengthening of bilateral economic cooperation, including in the insurance sector.
Minister of External Affairs, H.E. Mr. S.M. Krishna visited Kuwait on February 25, 2011 to participate in the 50th Anniversary of Kuwait's Independence. He was invited by His Highness the Amir of the State of Kuwait, Shaikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. He was accompanied by senior Government officials and the six members of the Indian media.
Indian Community in Kuwait
There are approximately 640,000 Indians, who constitute the largest expatriate community in Kuwait according to Kuwaiti Interior Ministry. It is regarded as the community of first preference among the expatriates in Kuwait. Kuwait views India as a fast growing economy and a source of highly qualified professional and technical personnel. A large portion of Indian expatriates are unskilled and semi-skilled workers. Professionals like engineers, doctors, chartered accountants, scientists, software experts, management consultants, architects; skilled workers like technicians and nurses; semi-skilled workers; retail traders and businessmen are also present in the Indian community. The total remittance from Kuwait to India is estimated to be upwards of US$ 3.5 billion annually.