Kuwait Finds India Inc Reluctant To Play A Role In Iraq

New Delhi, May 22: | Updated: May 23 2003, 05:30am hrs
Kuwait has expressed doubts about seriousness of Indian businesses in looking for opportunities in Iraq. Speaking to FE, Kuwaiti ambassador Abdullah A Al-Murad said India had the potential to do good business in that region but said initiative should come from Indian companies to do business.

Mr Al Murad did not think too high of the efforts being made by the Indian business chambers. According to him, the people of Iraq need consumer products, food, medical care and medicines. We are here to guide anyone who is interested in doing business in Kuwait or to participate in the reconstruction of Iraq. From my country you could do business with others also, he said.

About Kuwaits involvement in Iraq, Mr Abdullah said, Before the Iraq invasion of Kuwait, the two countries had excellent relations especially in trade. Iraq was an important market for us. More than 80 per cent of our exports were to Iraq. It was almost $1.6 million in 1990.

Iraq needs to be reconstructed today. Huge efforts and billions of dollars would be required to be invested for rebuilding the country and by the virtue of being in the neighbourhood Kuwait has a major role to play, said Mr Al Murad.

According to him, reconstruction work would be taken up at two levelsoil and other sectors. The oil sector itself will take up almost 60 per cent of efforts, he said. Kuwait has good oil companies both government and private companies. We may not be the main contractors but we will certainly get sub contracts, he said.

Efforts would also be needed for providing clean water, cleaner ports like the gulf port of Basra, a new port at Umm Qasr to relieve pressure on Basra, build houses and roads.

He said Indians had a good chance of taking part on a large-scale in the reconstruction efforts in political, economic and infrastructure sectors. In fact, it will be easier to give the contracts to the Indians since they will be able to interact easily with the Iraqi people. But Indian businessmen have to come forward, he said.