KUWAIT: NCCAL Secretary General Kamel Abdul Jalil and Indian Ambassador to Kuwait Sibi George shake hands after signing a cultural agreement at Kuwait National Library yesterday. - Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

By Sajeev K Peter

KUWAIT: The National Council of Culture, Arts and Letters (NCCAL) and the Embassy of India yesterday signed an agreement on cultural cooperation on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Kuwait and India. NCCAL Secretary General Kamel Abdul Jalil and Indian Ambassador to Kuwait Sibi George signed the agreement at a ceremony held at the Kuwait National Library.

Announcing the yearlong celebrations, Abdul Jalil said a series of joint events have been scheduled, covering the entire spectrum of culture, art and letters to mark the milestone year. "This anniversary year is very important for both countries and the joint celebrations are to mark an important milestone in the shared history of the bilateral relations of our two countries," he said. He also highlighted the excellent bilateral relations between Kuwait and India, especially the age-old people-to-people connection, civilizational affinities and mutual aims. He expressed his desire to bolster cultural exchanges between the two countries.

Kamel Abdul Jalil presents a memento to Sibi George.

In his remarks, George said India-Kuwait relations are time-tested. "They have been built over strong foundations by our peoples over centuries based on mutual trust and respect. Over time, the partnership has blossomed into a forward-looking dynamic partnership," he said, adding the new India-Kuwait partnership will connect the visions of the leaderships of the two countries for mutual development and progress of the peoples of the two countries.

"The leadership of India has given us a roadmap to rekindle the India-Kuwait relationship and take it to a new level of partnership. Every step that we undertake, including this joint collaborative yearlong celebration by NCCAL and the embassy, is part of this roadmap," the ambassador said.

The series of celebrations will commence with a joint musical program on Dec 2, 2021. This will be followed by a cultural week, when a seminar on historical relations between India and Kuwait will be presented by well-known writer Hind Al-Harbi and an Indian resident-writer.

The cultural week will also witness events such as screening of Indian movies, stage performances, seminar on wellness tourism opportunities, joint musical evenings, joint activities on antiquities and maritime trade routes, clothing exhibition, pottery exhibition, symposium on the connect between Indian and Kuwaiti cuisines, and currency and jewelry exhibitions, among others. A closing ceremony will be held on July 3, 2022.

George said more details of the celebrations will be announced in the coming weeks. "Our objective is to involve all our Kuwaiti friends and the Indian community in these celebrations and make it a memorable year in our relationship," he affirmed.