By Sajeev K Peter

KUWAIT: The Indian Embassy hosted a reception at Crowne Plaza Hotel on Thursday evening on the occasion of India's 74th Republic Day, in which Kuwait's Deputy Foreign Minister Mansour Ayyad Al-Otaibi attended as chief guest. Otaibi joined Indian Ambassador-designate Dr Adarsh Swaika to cut the ceremonial cake on the occasion. Undersecretary of the office of HH the Crown Prince Mazen Al-Essa and several other dignitaries including diplomats and Indian community members attended the event.

Talking to the media following the celebration, Otaibi praised the historic relations between Kuwait and India, underlining the keenness of both parties to develop these relations further. "Kuwait is among the first countries that were keen on entering the Indian market through its investments in many fields," he said. Referring to the number of Indian expatriates in the country, which is close to one million, he said: "They contribute significantly to the development and renaissance of Kuwait through their work in both public and private sectors."

Welcoming the guests on the occasion, the ambassador-designate expressed gratitude to HH the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for their patronage and support to a strong India-Kuwait partnership. He also thanked the deputy minister of foreign affairs for being the chief guest for the celebration.

KUWAIT: Mansour Ayyad Al-Otaibi (center) with Dr Adarsh Swaika and his wife (right) during the celebration.

"This day marks a historic milestone in India's journey, since it was on this very day in 1950 that the constitution of India came into effect. The Indian constitution is a living document, which has responded to the needs of time," Swaika said.

Referring to Indian foreign policy initiatives, he said: "You can see its embodiment in the Indian foreign policy approaches and practices. The slogan of the ongoing Indian Presidency of G20 'One Earth One Family One Future' is inspired by this philosophy. India's recent tenure as the non-permanent member of the UN Security Council was focused on 'Reformed Multilateralism' and other themes of global relevance," he said.

Swaika said India is celebrating 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' since last year to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of independence and the glorious history of India's people, culture and achievements. "I am sure many of you would have been part of various events organized by the Indian Embassy during the last two years to celebrate 'Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav'," he said.

Dignitaries attending event.

Time-tested relations

Talking about Kuwait-India bilateral relations, Swaika said "they are indeed historical and time-tested, underpinned by constant trade, economic and people-to-people linkages over the centuries". "Most importantly, the leadership of both countries highly value the importance of this multifaceted relationship. The bilateral relations cover cooperation in a wide spectrum of areas. India is the 4th largest export destination for Kuwait and 6th largest with respect to its imports. Cooperation in the energy sphere continues to be the fulcrum of economic cooperation. Collaboration in education is well known with 25 Indian schools running in Kuwait with an enrollment of over 50,000 students. The strong and vibrant Indian community in Kuwait of approximately one million is a living bridge between the two countries," he pointed out.

"We strongly believe the current level of bilateral relations is only a tip of the iceberg. Kuwait with its 2035 developmental vision and India with its rising global and economic profile have a lot more to cooperate and collaborate. This is where friends of India in Kuwait, including you all, and friends of Kuwait in India apart from the governments of both countries, have an important role to play," Swaika added.

The ambassador-designate thanked the Indian community for its stellar contribution in being the bedrock of the India-Kuwait partnership. "As Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi aptly put it in his recent address at the 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Convention, you are the true 'Rashtradoots' of India who continue to serve not only India but your home away from home, ie, Kuwait," he said. He thanked all stakeholders who are playing a role in taking the India-Kuwait relationship to greater heights.