India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

By Sajeev K Peter

KUWAIT: India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is scheduled to arrive in Kuwait tomorrow on an official visit. The visiting minister is expected to deliver a message to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah from India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on ways to bolster deep-rooted bilateral relations between the two countries, according to sources in Delhi. Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah had visited India in March.

Jaishankar’s visit will be the first by a top Indian official to Kuwait since HH Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah became the Amir of Kuwait last September following the passing of the late Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. During Sheikh Nasser’s visit to India, the two sides constituted a joint commission chaired by the foreign ministers of both countries. Both sides have agreed to establish joint working groups under the joint commission to strengthen cooperation in several fields such as trade, investment, oil and petrochemicals, defense and culture.

As India battles a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Kuwait has reaffirmed the country’s commitment to stand with India and has extended critical support by providing relief materials, especially oxygen. Jaishankar has expressed India’s appreciation for the support extended by Kuwaiti authorities by providing relief materials and medical oxygen through ships.

India is among the largest trading partners of Kuwait and bilateral trade was worth $10.86 billion during 2019-20. India’s imports, mainly oil, were worth $9.6 billion during this period. Kuwait was the 10th largest oil supplier to India during 2019-20 and met 3.8 percent of the country’s energy needs. Kuwait is also home to more than 900,000 Indian expatriates.