Amir invites India PM Modi to visit Kuwait

Two agencies to run 6 Indian embassy outsourcing centers

KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah has extended an official invitation to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Kuwait. The invitation has been delivered to the prime minister and a date of his visit will be finalized soon, said Indian Ambassador Sunil Jain during a press conference at the Indian embassy here on Thursday.
“Both countries will finalize a mutually-convenient date for the visit of Indian prime minister,” the ambassador said. India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval had visited Kuwait two weeks ago and had held high-level discussions in Kuwait.
This will be the first visit by an Indian prime minister to Kuwait after former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi visited Kuwait 35 years ago in 1981. His highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah visited India in 2013.

“A joint India-Kuwait ministerial meeting will be held in September in Kuwait. India’s Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar will lead the Indian side while Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Anas Al-Saleh will lead the Kuwaiti side at the meeting. Prior to the ministerial meeting, separate joint working groups on petroleum and health will also meet to strengthen the India-Kuwait bilateral ties,” the ambassador informed.

As part of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Distinguished Visitors Program, former Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah, has been invited to visit India. The date of his visit will be announced soon, the ambassador said. The two countries are also discussing on finalizing a visa waiver program for diplomatic and special passport holders of both countries, he added.

Outsourcing centers
The Indian embassy’s consular services have improved over the years, he said. In order to meet the increasing demands of the Indian community, passport, visa and attestation services will be outsourced to two new agencies. The two agencies will open six embassy outsourcing centers across Kuwait, the ambassador said. CKGS, the current outsourcing company, operates only three centers, one each in Abbsaiya, Kuwait City and Fahaheel. The embassy will outsource attestation services also to the new outsourcing companies in order to ease the long queues at the embassy, the ambassador added. The embassy has issued 96,000 passports and 14,000 visas from Kuwait last year. The embassy also attested 95,000 documents in 2016.

India’s ministry of civil aviation has approved in principle the request of two India-based private airlines Indigo Airways and Go Air to launch their services to Kuwait providing a great relief to the air connectivity problem being faced by the Indian expats in Kuwait, the ambassador said. Air India and Kuwait Airways are also working towards a code-sharing program which will help ease the travel problems, he added.

By Sajeev K Peter

This article was published on 01/04/2017