With economy on mind, Ansari to visit Kuwait

April 5th, 2009 - 3:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, April 5 (IANS) With oil-rich Kuwait looking east to invest, India will seek investment funds from the Gulf country when Vice President Hamid Ansari goes there Monday on a three-day visit.
This will be the first high-profile visit from India to Kuwait in nearly three decades.

The two countries will sign two pacts in the area of science and technology cooperation as well as educational exchanges for 2009-11.

Ansari will call on Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah Monday and discuss a broad swathe of regional and global issues including security, energy, terrorism and bilateral ties.

Enhancing cooperation in maritime security is high on the agenda as India exports nearly 70 percent of its oil requirements from the Persian Gulf region.

Ansari, who earlier was India’s envoy to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, will also meet ministers of defence, foreign affairs, finance and oil in Kuwait.

Kuwait is home to 580,000 Indian expatriates. Issues relating to their welfare will be discussed between the two sides.

Ansari will attend a reception hosted by members of the Indian community in Kuwait Monday evening.

Ansari’s visit will focus on scaling up trade and economic ties between India and Kuwait in the context of a broader energy partnership.

Kuwait, a member of the influential Gulf Cooperation Council, has nearly 10 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves.

“In the current scenario, Kuwait has a lot of capital. We seek to encourage Kuwaiti investment in infrastructure sector in India,” N. Ravi, secretary (east) in the external affairs ministry, said ahead of Ansari’s visit.

Ansari will make a pitch for accelerated Kuwaiti investment into India in his address to the Kuwaiti Chambers of Commerce and Industry next week.

India can absorb $500 billion investment in the infrastructure sector over the years, Ravi said.

Although recession has hit parts of Kuwait’s economy, its economy is still going strong.

Minister of State for Statistics and Programme Implementation G.K. Vasan and senior officials of the external affairs and petroleum ministries will accompany Ansari.

India has vital stakes in the stability and prosperity of the Gulf region, which is home to over 4.5 million Indian diaspora. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Oman and Qatar last year.

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