India sends petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan to Kuwait to condole former amir’s death
Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday began a two-day visit to Kuwait to offer the government’s condolences to the West Asian nation on the death of its former amir, reflecting the importance India attaches to it ties with the oil-rich country.
Pradhan carried letters from the President and Prime Minister for the leadership of Kuwait, condoling the death of Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
He will also convey congratulations on behalf of India to Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the new amir, and Sheikh Mishaal Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, who has taken over as crown prince. People familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity that the visit will provide an opportunity to review bilateral relations.
“Look forward to meet the new leadership in Kuwait to further strengthen the multi-faceted India-Kuwait relationship and take forward our historic relationship in diverse areas,” Pradhan tweeted.
Kuwait is sixth on the list of India’s energy sources. India has consistently been among the top ten trading partners of Kuwait, with bilateral trade worth $6.2 billion in 2015-16. Kuwait’s Sovereign Wealth Fund has invested $2 billion in India since 2017, taking total investments to $5 billion.
The West Asian country is also home to more than one million Indians, the largest expatriate community, and their annual remittances are estimated at $4.8 billion. They include professionals such as engineers, doctors, nurses, software experts, management consultants, and a large number of unskilled and semi-skilled workers.
Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah died at a US hospital on September 29 at the age of 91.
External affairs minister S Jaishankar had visited the Kuwaiti embassy in New Delhi on October 1 to convey India’s condolences. India also observed a day of national mourning on October 4.
India and Kuwait maintained close and friendly relations under the leadership of the late amir, the external affairs ministry said, describing him as a “true friend and well-wisher of India in guiding and strengthening bilateral engagements for the mutual benefit of the people of the two countries”.
Both countries also cooperated closely during the Covid-19 crisis, and India had despatched a medical rapid response team to Kuwait in April to boost its fight against the pandemic by helping in the testing and treatment of infected people.