Cultural diplomacy was in full flow here, as India and Kuwait Tuesday signed three agreements to promote a two-way traffic of their scholars, artists, scientists and researchers with Indian Vice-President Hamid Ansari waxing eloquent about the fabled aquarium and traditional Kuwaiti handicrafts.
India's soft power in the Gulf region, which is reflected in its 4.5 million Indian diaspora and the huge popularity of Indian films, is set to be in spotlight when it hosts a mini-cultural festival in Kuwait later this year.
The two countries signed three agreements in areas of culture, education and science and technology.
The cultural agreement has a broad canvas that includes participation in art exhibitions and book fairs and an exchange of library and art experts, scholars, and archaeologists between the two countries.
India will also conduct a theatre training programme in Kuwait and Lalit Kala Academy will present an exhibition of contemporary Indian art, said India's ambassador to Kuwait Ajai Malhotra.
The agreement on cooperation in science and technology will include exchange of scientists and documents. A joint India-Kuwait committee for science and technology will meet every year to spur interaction between scientists of the two countries and exchange scientific data.
The pact on education entails an exchange of educationists and by promoting a knowledge of each other's culture and societies by including a section on each country's history in school textbooks.
The two sides will also share information about the equalisation of degrees and diplomas between their educational institutions.
Underlining centuries-old cultural bonds between India and Kuwait, Ansari, who is currently on his first visit to the Gulf region after he became the vice-president last year, said: "An Indian does not come to Kuwait as a stranger. The same holds true for a Kuwaiti in India."
Taking time off from hectic meetings with Kuwait's Amir and senior ministers, Ansari, accompanied by his wife Salma, found time to savour the sights of the famous aquarium that boasts of a dazzling variety of rare marine life.
"Our visit to the aquarium was a truly memorable experience. We were able to see the diversity of marine life in their natural habitat," Ansari wrote in the visitor's book at the aquarium.
Salma Ansari was impressed by the beautiful designs of the hand-woven masterpieces display at Sadu House that preserves local Bedouin handicraft traditions.