By Sajeev K Peter


KUWAIT: India and Kuwait enjoy deep-rooted and dynamic bilateral relations and the effort is to make the partnership more diverse and broad-based to include hitherto untouched areas of cooperation, Indian Ambassador Dr Adarsh Swaika said. “The India-Kuwait cooperation spans a vast number of areas as the countries share a longstanding, historical and time-tested relationship. High-level visits give an opportunity to arrive at mutual understandings and agreements on important issues,” Dr Swaika said in an interview with Kuwait Times.

He spoke about his hopes and aspirations as the Indian ambassador to Kuwait, Kuwait-India bilateral relations, the embassy’s consular services and diaspora issues, among other things during the interview. “We just had the foreign office consultations in New Delhi in the first week of May after a gap of over four years. We are looking forward to the visit of the foreign minister of Kuwait to India in due course. The last visits at foreign minister-level were of Kuwait’s foreign minister to India in March 2021 and of India’s external affairs minister to Kuwait in June 2021. We also look forward to highest-level visits from both sides at an opportune time,” he said.

Talking about economic engagement between the countries, Swaika said it has grown over the years.  “Just as Kuwait is central to India’s energy security, India is crucial for Kuwait’s food security. Our bilateral trade of $12.5 billion is an all-time high, with a 95 percent jump in bilateral trade last year compared to the previous period,” he pointed out. However, he said that much of it is on account of hydrocarbon exports from Kuwait and exports of mainly food products from India.

“It is heartening to see exports of some other products from India like engineering goods, chemicals, ‘Made in India’ automobiles and spare parts, white goods, etc. It has a huge scope of diversification, particularly in view of the world-class products that Indian companies offer in a number of areas today. Clearly, there are very good possibilities in pharmaceuticals and medical devices, automobiles and related spares, electronic goods and components, high efficiency solar PV modules, textiles and apparel, white goods, ceramics and so on,” Dr Swaika added.



The ambassador said the main potential area of cooperation is in the field of investments from Kuwait to India because of the attractive political and financial investment climate that the country provides. “The India-Kuwait investment seminar organized by the embassy earlier on May 8 in Kuwait presented the new India growth story. And we actually saw a lot of interest from our Kuwaiti partners in investing in India. There are some very positive experiences of Kuwaiti investments in India. KIA’s investments in India are for that matter extremely significant and we are hopeful of further investments,” Swaika said.

Elaborating on his aspirations and expectations as the ambassador of India, Dr Swaika said he would implement the priorities the Indian government has set for its relations with Kuwait. “And this is to further make our bilateral partnership with Kuwait strong and robust, which harnesses the potential of both sides. We are working closely with our Kuwaiti partners to achieve our shared objective of a much-strengthened partnership,” he stated.


Diaspora matters

He said it is one of the priority foreign policy objectives of the government of India to ensure the welfare of its citizens abroad, and Kuwait, which has the Indian community as its largest expatriate community, is no exception. “We are grateful to the leadership and government of Kuwait for ensuring the welfare of the Indian community. The Indian community is a living bridge between our two countries. They have contributed immensely to the development of Kuwait and will continue to do so,” Swaika said.

Asked about the recruitment of Indian nurses to Kuwait, the ambassador said: “Insofar as their recruitment is concerned, there are proper established mechanisms for their recruitment. And it is mostly working well.” Indian nurses are by far the largest of the nursing community in Kuwait and they are known not only for their hard work, but for the empathy and care they bring along, he said.

Regarding the issue of Indian engineers, he said both sides are working seriously on this issue. “I will not go into further details. But I must admit that in my meetings with many senior Kuwaiti interlocutors including heads of various organizations, they have been extremely appreciative of the knowledge and skillsets that Indian engineers have been bringing to their organizations. In fact, a senior CEO said to the extent that one of the Indian engineers has been the guru of their organization,” Swaika said.


Consular services

Being an embassy of a country whose citizens form the largest expatriate community in Kuwait, it is incumbent on the embassy to have very streamlined and robust consular processes and mechanisms, Dr Swaika said. “The embassy is constantly trying to improve the processes to make them more user-friendly, accessible and simple,” he said.

Indian consular centers have been established since January 2022 in multiple locations in Kuwait so that applicants for passports, visas and other consular services avail of the services nearer to their home/workplace instead of coming to the embassy. A sound grievance redressal mechanism including 12 WhatsApp lines for various services is functional.

Dr Swaika explained open houses are being held almost every week in which he personally attends to tackle unresolved grievances of Indians. The embassy also commenced the new practice of consular camps to reach Indian nationals in far-flung areas. Three camps have already been held in Wafra, Jahra and Abdaly in the last three months.