Both sides discussed the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and reiterated their commitment to jointly fight the global pandemic; and other critical issues such as travel restrictions and vaccination.
Food security, cyber security, cooperation in the energy sector and issues related to the Indian workforce in Kuwait topped the agenda of talks when external affairs minister Dr Jaishankar met his counterpart in Kuwait on Thursday.
Also, bilateral relations and other developments in the region as well as fight against the global pandemic of COVID-19 were on the agenda too. Both sides discussed the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and reiterated their commitment to jointly fight the global pandemic; and other critical issues such as travel restrictions and vaccination.
During his visit to Kuwait, one of the GCC countries, Dr S Jaishankar expressed India’s appreciation for Kuwait’s gesture of supplying Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) and other oxygen related supplies to help fight the surge in COVID cases in India.
He held delegation level talks with Sheikh (Dr.) Ahmed Nasser Al-Sabah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs, also, present during the talks was Dr Abdullah Issa Al Salman, Minister of Commerce and Industry.
At the end of the meeting it was decided that the first meeting of the India – Kuwait Joint Commission Meeting will be later this year. They also agreed to set dates for meetings of the Joint Working Groups on Health, Hydrocarbon and Manpower. More Joint Working Groups in other areas of cooperation will be set up soon.
A MoU for Cooperation on the Recruitment of Domestic Workers, was inked by Ambassador of India to Kuwait Sibi George and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait Majdi Al Dhafiri.
Why is this MoU important?
The Indian Domestic Workers in Kuwait will now come within the ambit of a legal framework. This framework will streamline their recruitment and provide them with protection of law.
Under this framework, an Employment Contract is introduced. This will help in ensuring the rights and obligations of both the employer and the Domestic Workers. How? By establishing a mechanism for 24 hours assistance to Domestic Workers.
Finally, this MoU will provide setting up of a Joint Committee for periodic review and assessment.
Takeaway from the EAM’s visit to Kuwait
As reported by Financial Express Online, Dr Jaishankar carried a Letter from Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed to the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmed Al Sabah. This was handed over to the Prime Minister of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al Hamad Al-Sabah.
Both sides inked a MoU on Cooperation of Recruitment of Domestic Workers.
First Joint Commission meeting to be held in India this year.
During the meeting Joint celebrations of 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Kuwait were also launched. These celebrations are going to continue through 2021-2022.
At the end of the EAM’s visit, Ambassador of Kuwait to India, Jasem Al Najemtalks to Huma Siddiqui.
Following are excerpts:
What does this visit mean for Kuwait-India relations?
The official visit of the Minister of External Affair Dr Jaishankar to Kuwait is going to strengthen the bilateral ties between both the countries. During the meeting, the two sides discussed the frameworks for strengthening the strategic partnership between the two countries, and reviewed all aspects of close and distinguished cooperation in various vital and important fields.
Both sides also reviewed matters related to developing the health system, enhancing food security, developing the education sectors, information technology, various energy fields, economic, commercial and investment sectors, and ways to develop their future prospects in support of the common interests between the two countries and their friendly peoples.
It is worth mentioning that this visit came after Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs of the State of Kuwait to India in mid-March, during which he announced the establishment of a Joint Commission, chaired by the two ministers, under which a number of Joint Working Groups would be established to enhance the cooperation in various fields. Moreover, the two ministers exchanged a number of phone calls within a short period of time since the second wave of the Corona virus broke out in India to cooperate with each other in the fight against Coronavirus. These continuous engagements of both sides point to the depth of the friendly relationship between both the countries. Furthermore, they are going to celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries in 2022.
Are there any plans to continue sending relief to India?
Yes, the air and sea bridge will continue as long as more Liquid Medical Oxygen or Oxygen Cylinders are needed to save more lives. And Indian Air Force aircraft will continue to transport the empty Liquid Medical Oxygen Tanks to Kuwait for refilling and transport it back to India by Indian Navy Ships. This Air Sea Bridge between both the countries will continue until the Indian side asks to stop it.
Most importantly, what about Maritime Security with India?
This particular issue will be addressed through the Ministry of Defence of the two countries in the Joint Working Groups meetings which will take place virtually very soon to review all aspects of the cooperation in various fields especially in maritime security. And then present the issues to the Joint Commission chaired by the Foreign Ministers of both the countries, whose meeting is scheduled to take place in New Delhi in the end of this year 2021, for which our Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait may visit India.