A microcosm of India in the heart of oil-rich Kuwait

April 7th, 2009 - 5:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Shah Rukh Khan By Manish Chand
Kuwait City, April 7 (IANS) The 580,000-strong Indian community in Kuwait, comprising self-made millionaires, techies, engineers, doctors, professionals and service workers, has created a “microcosm of India” in the oil-rich Gulf emirate.

“Each of us is an ambassador of the best aspects of India,” Indian Vice-President Hamid Ansari said while praising Indian expatriates here for contributing to the “global profile of Indians” in Kuwait and in the Gulf region as a whole.

Around five million Indians live in the Gulf region and send remittances of over $20 billion annually.

“There has never been a word of unhappiness about the Indian community as a group,” Ansari told hundreds of Indians at a gala reception Monday night at the Arraya Ballroom in the plush Courtyard Marriott Hotel.

Reflecting on the gathering, dressed in traditional saris and suits, Ansari said: “It’s a microcosm of India reflective of the diversity of the country.”

He stressed on the “intertwined destinies” of India and people living in the Gulf region and urged them to be active participants “in an era of co-prosperity” in an increasingly interconnected world.

“The only way to live in today’s world is to contribute to each other and their well-being and diversity,” Ansari, who is on a three-day visit to Kuwait, said.

“No two countries are better placed in this regard than India and Kuwait. India is keen to be an active partner in this partnership. The well-being of the region and the well-being of India are intertwined,” he said.

The story of Indians in Kuwait has been one of enterprise, hard work and the talent for adapting to the culture of the host country without losing the distinctiveness of their own culture.

“Indians are doing extremely well in Kuwait. There is a certain comfort level here with Indians. The Indian business community here is quite successful,” Gaurav Oberoi, a young businessmen whose family has been running a lucrative food business here for generations, told IANS.

Yousaf, a young Kuwaiti businessmen, is all praise for Indians. “People here like Indians. Our culture are so similar,” said Yousaf, who enjoys watching Indian films starring Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan.

Indians living in Kuwait are a motley lot with a sizeable number of people involved in high-end well-paying jobs as managers in banks, petroleum companies, investment funds and IT firms.

Indians also form the back-up community keeping the wheels of the day-to-day life running in the Gulf emirate. Cooks, chauffeurs, housemaids, clerks, mostly from south India, have added to the diversity of the oil-rich Gulf country whose expatriates outstrip native Kuwaitis in numbers.

In a population of 3.4 million people, Kuwaitis comprise 31 percent. The Indian community forms the largest expatriate group.

Around 70 Indian associations are registered with the Indian embassy in Kuwait. There are 17 Indian schools in Kuwait affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education.

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