The External Affairs Minister (EAM) of India paid a three-day visit to Kuwait from June 9 to 11, 2021 and to Kenya from June 12 to 14, 2021.
S. Jaishankar (EAM) visited Kuwait on the invitation of Sheikh Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammad Al Sabah, Foreign Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet affairs, State of Kuwait. This was the first visit of EAM to Kuwait.
This meeting was held after the two countries decided to establish a Joint Ministerial Commission to strengthen cooperation in energy, trade, manpower and labour and information technology sector. Both countries have shared close and strong relations. India is among the largest trade partners for Kuwait while Kuwait has been a major supplier of oil for India. Kuwait in the hard times of Covid-19 provided with liquid medical oxygen and helped to handle the second wave of the infection.
The year 2021-22 marks the completion of 60 years of bilateral establishment between the two countries. During the meeting discussion on food security, cyber security, energy sector and issues related to India workforce in Kuwait was done. Both countries decided to hold the first India-Kuwait Conference by the end of this year.
MoU was also signed between the two. The MoU was signed by Indian Ambassador to Kuwait, Sibi George and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait Majidi Ahmand Al-Dhafiri. According to the above, this will bring and help the Indian workers working in Kuwait under a legal framework. It will help to solve all the problems related to Indian workforce in Kuwait. Other aspects to be covered under the same are as follows:
- It will provide the workers the protection of the law
- Introduction to an employment contract will be done so that the rights of the workers are well protected and
- 24 hour assistance will provided and review and assessment of the MoU will be provided to a Joint Committee.
EAM Jaishankar chaired a round-table conference of Indian Ambassadors in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Iran. The GCC is a political and economic alliance of 6 countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.
S. Jaishankar visited Kenya at the invitation of the Cabinet Secretary Foreign Affairs Raychella Omano. Kenya is an important partner for India in the African Continent They both are members of the Common Wealth and are currently part of the UN Security Council. Kenya is a part of the African Union, with which India has strong ties. These provide India-Kenya to have stronger grounds to strengthen the ties.
During the visit following steps were considered to strengthen the relationship between the two countries.
- Both sides agreed to strengthen the ties according to the Kenya-India Commission framework.
- Enhanced cooperation in the areas of Health, Environment, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Tourism, High Education, Automotive, Defence and Security was discussed.
- India is a leading source of FDI for Kenya; hence they welcomed more investment in manufacturing, agro-processing, automobiles, pharmaceuticals and affordable housing.
EAM also inaugurated the Mahatma Gandhi Library at the University of Nairobi in Kenya. India has been supporting them financially to renovate the Library.
During the visit, EAM also Co-chaired the 3rd India-Kenya Joint Commission meeting along with the Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Raychella Omano. All the aspects of the bilateral relationship were discussed and also how these can be further strengthen the cooperation and coordination between the two countries.
This visit at the time of pandemic shows how committed India is in making the bilateral relationship between countries more fruitful and solid.