Diplomatic Enclave, Arabian Gulf Street, P.O. Box 1450, Safat-13015, Kuwait. Phone: 22530600, 22530612 - 14 Fax: 22546958, 22571192, 22573910, 22573902

Message of Ambassador Sunil Jain on the 69th Independence Day of India
On the happy occasion of our 69th Independence Day, I extend my heartiest warm greetings and best wishes to all my compatriots in Kuwait.

Today we pay respects and homage to all those who selflessly and courageously fought for India’s political freedom. The ideals and the values that guided our freedom movement, led by Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, became the guiding principles of the Independent Indian Republic. We also re-dedicate ourselves today to build a modern vibrant India, while serving the cause of humanity at large. It is deeply satisfying to see our country of 1.25 billion people, characterized by vast linguistic, religious, ethnic and cultural diversity, confidently and unitedly marching ahead as one Nation. As our tribute to Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, we need to work hand-in-hand to realize his vision — India a developed country by 2020.

Under the transformational leadership of Hon’ble PM Shri Narendra Modi, the Government of India has set accelerating national economic development and ease in doing business its primary goals. To make India an international investment and manufacturing hub, the Government launched the ‘Make in India’ initiative in September 2014. A host of measures have been taken to revitalize the industrial sector in general and manufacturing sector in particular. The Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy has been liberalized. 100% FDI under automatic route has been permitted in construction, operation and maintenance in specified Rail Infrastructure projects; FDI in Defence liberalized to 49%. In cases of modernization of state-of-art proposals, FDI can go up to 100%; the norms for FDI in the Construction Development sector are also eased.

India's macroeconomic indicators have improved considerably during the last year and we have been among the fastest growing major economies in the world. We are already the third largest economy in purchasing power parity terms. India’s GDP grew by 7.3% in 2014-15, up from 6.9% in 2013-14. At the same time, inflation has been reined in with Wholesale Price Index (WPI) recording its lowest level in nine years in March 2015. The Government has implemented deregulation of diesel, petrol and cooking gas prices without entailing hardship for the consumers. To cater for urgently required land acquisition for major infrastructure projects, the Government has promulgated an ordinance to amend the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Re-Settlement Act. We are building a tax regime that is predictable, stable and competitive and have brought in a positive regulatory framework.

The Government has launched 100 Smart Cities Mission, Housing for All by 2022 and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) schemes. A 10-year infrastructure development plan has also been announced. Digital India programme has been launched recently which seeks to transform India into a digitally-empowered society and knowledge economy. The Digital India programme is centred on three key vision areas: Digital Infrastructure as a Utility to Every Citizen; Governance & Services on Demand; and Digital Empowerment of Citizens. Under the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), a National Mission for financial inclusion, account can be opened in any bank branch or Business Correspondent (Bank Mitr) outlet with Zero balance. The Government of India has also introduced National Pension System (NPS) for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) which will benefit over 10 million NRIs between the age group of 18-60 years so as to provide them old age security.

The Government has placed equal emphasis on enhancing knowledge, skill, technology, innovation and research & development. In September 2014, the landmark success of Mars Orbit Mission, India’s maiden Mission to Mars made India the only country to reach Mars on its first attempt, and its being fully manufactured indigenously at a relatively low cost is a testimony of India’s expertise and robust scientific & technological infrastructure. This year in June, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)’s commercial launch capability reached a new high, when it successfully launched five satellites for the UK. This being the heaviest commercial mission undertaken by ISRO, not only underlined it as a major player of space industries globally but also as a leading foreign exchange earner for the country.

On the foreign policy front, India is assiduously working towards mutually beneficial relations with all countries in the world. India will continue to pursue its enlightened national interest, maintaining the strategic autonomy and independence in decision-making that has been its hallmark. India has consistently been at the forefront of the fight against terrorism and has always condemned it in all forms and manifestations. Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Hon’ble President of India, in a message to His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Amir of the State of Kuwait, expressed condolences over the heinous attack at a mosque in Kuwait on 26 June 2015 where 27 people, including two Indians, were killed and many were injured. India believes that the progress of humanity lies in unity, peace, brotherhood and non-violence.

The Government of India is committed to the well-being and interests of Indian diaspora, including over 7 million Indians in Gulf countries. No efforts were spared in evacuating Indian nationals from conflict zones, including 7200 from Iraq, 3400 from Libya, 1000 from Ukraine and 4700 from Yemen. Thousands of Indians were brought back from earthquake-hit Nepal.

The United Nations, on India’s initiative, declared 21 June as the International Day of Yoga and the 1st International Day of Yoga was celebrated all over the world including Kuwait this year on 21 June. Yoga literally means to join and observing the International Day of Yoga is the perfect platform to bring the world together in a spirit of unity and harmony. Today when ethnic conflicts and extremist violence are threatening to destabilize societies, Yoga can serve as the perfect remedy to stop such negative tendencies and take us on the path of harmony and peace.

The close historical and friendly ties between India and the GCC countries is the foundation stone on which our robust contemporary relations are flourishing. India and Kuwait enjoy excellent relations, reflecting the centuries old economic and socio-cultural interactions. Over the past few years, sustained high-level interaction has provided significant fillip to bilateral relations. His Highness Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Prime Minister of Kuwait made a State visit to India in November 2013. Dr. Abdulmohsen Medeij Al-Medeij, Minister of Commerce and Industry of Kuwait led a Kuwaiti business delegation to India at the 4th India-Arab Partnership Conference held in New Delhi on 26-27 November 2014 as well as for the India-Arab Summit held in Jaipur, Rajasthan on 15-17 January 2015. The two countries have been engaged at the highest level and have established several institutional mechanisms of cooperation in various domains. Bilateral Foreign Office Consultations, meetings of Joint Working Groups on Hydrocarbon; Labour, Employment and Manpower; and Medical cooperation as well as the Joint Ministerial Commission are slated to be held later this year. Both sides have been working closely to further intensify engagements at all levels.

Kuwait remains India’s reliable supplier of crude oil & LPG and India has consistently been among Kuwait’s top 10 trading partners. The total bilateral trade during the Financial Year 2014-15 was US$ 14.58 billion. Several Indian companies, viz., Larsen & Toubro, Dodsal, Punj Lloyd, Shapoorji Pallonji, Simplex etc have been awarded contracts worth over US$ 4.15 billion in 2014 in Kuwait. In May 2015, Larsen & Toubro signed a contract worth US$ 77 million with Kuwait National Petroleum Corporation (KNPC) to replace an old power substation at Al-Ahmadi Refinery in Kuwait.

The dynamic Indian community continues to play its part in the deepening and widening of ties between the two countries. I would like to reassure the Embassy’s top-rate service to each and every 8 lakh Indians in Kuwait. The Embassy has taken several measures for the welfare of the Indian community in Kuwait. Our community can reach the Embassy on 24x7, in cases of emergency. Annually, over 80,000 Indian passports are issued by the Embassy. Attestation work of the Embassy has been quicker and hassle-free. Over 12,500 visas issued every year to Kuwaiti nationals and other expatriates. The Embassy, in addition to existing visa services available at Sharq and Fahaheel, has decided to introduce visa services from CKGS centre in Jleeb Al Shuwaikh (Abbasiya), which will be opened soon. We remain in touch with the Kuwaiti authorities to address various problems faced by our community particularly in Jleeb Al Shuwaikh.

In view of serious irregularities in the recruitment of Indian nurses for work in Kuwait, the Embassy took up the matter with the authorities both in Kuwait and India so as to put an end to the financial malpractices in the recruitment process. As a result of Embassy’s efforts, the Government of India decided in March 2015 that the recruitment of nurses for work in Kuwait (and other ECR countries) would be regulated through three State Manpower Corporations in India (two in Kerala - namely NORKA-Roots and ODEPC and one from Tamil Nadu – OMCL, Chennai) w.e.f. 30 April 2015. Further, Indian nurses have been brought back under the ECR regime and their recruitment is being done under e-Migrate platform of MOIA for transparency and to protect their interests. An Indian delegation comprising senior officials of NORKA and ODEPC visited Kuwait in April 2015 to interact with Ministry of Health, Kuwait and to finalize the modalities of recruitment of nurses under the new guidelines.

Most vulnerable members of Indian community in Kuwait are our female domestic workers. The Government of India had introduced a Bank Guarantee of US$2,500 from employers / sponsors in Kuwait for bringing Indian female domestic workers to Kuwait. As this welfare measure was not found acceptable by Kuwaiti side, the Embassy has suspended attestation of employment contracts for bringing our female domestic workers to Kuwait, since December 2014. The illegal flow of our female domestic workers to Kuwait is a matter of serious concern.

The issue of delays in repatriation of Indian nationals lodged in various police stations and Deportation Centre in Kuwait due to various procedural reasons, has been taken up by the Embassy at various levels. The Embassy has been providing air-tickets and small financial assistance to distressed Indian workers to facilitate their repatriation to India under Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF). During 2014-15, a total of 976 distressed Indian nationals benefited while the total expenditure on account of our assistance under ICWF was about KD 42,000.

Due to Embassy’s efforts, the Kuwaiti authorities discontinued the service contract of Khadamat Integrated Solutions Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai who were charging an exorbitant amount of Rs.24,000 towards medical tests from prospective workers seeking employment in Kuwait. The services of GAMCA which was charging much less were restored. We have requested Kuwaiti authorities for reduction in visa processing charge in India.

The Embassy has a dedicated Community Welfare Wing looking after the various community related issues including transportation of approx. 550 mortal remains to India as early as possible. In case of natural death, the mortal remains are airlifted to India within 3-4 days on an average.

The Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Persons (TSP) between India and Kuwait, signed in New Delhi in November 2013, has now been operationalised. This will help 250 Indian prisoners presently in Kuwaiti jails to return to India to serve the remaining part of their sentences.

Once again, I greet my fellow countrymen and women on our 69th Independence. I also take this opportunity to convey best wishes from our leaders for the continued good health and well-being of His Highness the Amir, His Highness the Crown Prince, His Highness the Prime Minister, and the friendly people of the State of Kuwait.


Jai Hind!
Kuwait
15 August 2015
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