India-Kuwait Joint Statement

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, at their joint media interaction in New Delhi on November 8, 2013
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, at their joint media interaction in New Delhi on November 8, 2013
Following is the Joint Statement issued by India and Kuwait during the State Visit of Kuwait Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah to India from November 7-10:
At the invitation of Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of the Republic of India, His Highness Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait paid a State visit to India from 7-10 November 2013. His Highness Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber was accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising Ministers, senior officials and business leaders. Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber was accorded a ceremonial welcome in the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan on 8 November. During his official engagements in New Delhi, Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber held detailed bilateral consultations with Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. He also called on the President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee and the Vice President, Shri Hamid Ansari and the Chairperson UPA, Smt Sonia Gandhi. Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber also met with the Minister of External Affairs, Shri Salman Khurshid, Minister of Finance Shri P. Chidambaram, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dr. M. Veerappa Moily, and Minister of Commerce and Industry, Shri Anand Sharma. He attended a business luncheon meeting jointly organised by the three business chambers-FICCI, CII and ASSOCHAM.
1. The two Prime Ministers stressed that India and Kuwait have close ties, rooted in shared history and cultural affinities, which have been sustained and nourished through growing economic linkages, multi-faceted cooperation and close people-to-people contacts. Both countries have a shared commitment to the values of democracy and fundamental freedoms for their citizens and vibrant economies with strong complementarities. They held wide-ranging discussions in a sincere, friendly and forward-looking atmosphere and exchanged views on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest.
2. The two Prime Ministers noted that the development in the bilateral relationship had acquired a new momentum following the visit of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Amir of Kuwait to India in 2006 which led to the establishment of Joint Ministerial Commission and sectoral Joint Working Groups and received impetus with the visit of Vice President of India Shri M Hamid Ansari to Kuwait in April 2009.
3. The two Prime Ministers expressed happiness at the regular exchange of visits between the two countries in recent years and agreed to further cement the existing ties through enhanced cooperation across the entire spectrum of bilateral engagement. In this context, they welcomed the constructive outcomes of the visit of H.E. Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber, Minister of Amiri Diwan Affairs to India in March 2013 followed by the visit of Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission, Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Minister of State for External Affairs, Shri E. Ahamed to Kuwait in July 2013.
4. The two Prime Ministers agreed to build a forward-looking relationship by further broadening and deepening the bilateral engagement and by better leveraging the existing complementarities between the two countries in key areas of mutual interest, including inter alia, energy, power, petrochemicals, investments, infrastructure development, project exports, environment and remediation of contaminated soil, education, culture, health, human resource and information technology.
5. The two sides discussed several regional and international issues, including the security situation in West Asia, Middle East and South Asia. It was agreed that both sides will have a regular exchange of views on various regional and international issues.
I. Strategic cooperation
6. Bilateral institutional mechanisms: The two Prime Ministers stressed the importance of continuing regular bilateral consultations through the robust architecture of dialogue in place, including the Joint Ministerial Commission, Foreign Office Consultation and various Joint Working Groups. The two Prime Ministers decided that the next meeting of the Joint Ministerial Commission will take place in Kuwait by the first quarter of 2014 and that future meetings will be held regularly. They also directed the two Foreign Ministries to hold regular consultations on bilateral, regional, multilateral and international issues and to coordinate cooperation activities. The two Prime Ministers decided that the sectoral JWGs should meet regularly to strengthen cooperation in these important areas.
7. Foreign Office Consultations: Both sides noted with satisfaction that the first Foreign Office Consultations held in New Delhi in May 2012 were useful in reviewing progress in bilateral relations and exchanging views of regional and international issues of mutual interest. It was decided that the next such consultations would be held in Kuwait in the first half of 2014 and dates will be decided through diplomatic channels.
8. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the signing of MOU on Mutual Cooperation between the Foreign Service Institute, Ministry of External Affairs, Republic of India and the Saud N. Al-Sabah Kuwait Diplomatic Institute, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the State of Kuwait and stressed that it will strengthen relations by exchange of information, training of diplomats, joint research in mutually agreed areas and use of IT in diplomacy.10. Broad-basing the Dialogue Architecture: The two Prime Ministers noted with satisfaction that the exchange of Parliamentary delegations between the two Parliaments in the past have helped in sharing views, experiences and best practices. They agreed to encourage regular exchange of Parliamentary delegations between the two countries. The two sides stressed the significance of broad-basing exchanges and agreed to encourage visits by members of judicial institutions, Election Commissions and other Civil Society groups in areas of mutual interest, which would add new dimensions to bilateral ties and strengthening democratic values. 
II. Security Cooperation
9. Security Dialogue: The two Prime Ministers noted with satisfaction that the first dialogue between the National Security Council Secretariat of India and the National Security Bureau of Kuwait in October 2013 was very useful in better understanding each other’s assessment of the situation in their respective regions, threat perceptions and security concerns. The need for enhancing cooperation in this important sector was stressed and it was agreed that the security dialogue will take place annually between the two countries. They also decided to strengthen sharing of information, intelligence and assessments.
10. Terrorism: The two Prime Ministers condemned terrorism in all shapes and forms and affirmed that it threatened all societies and was not linked to any race, colour or belief.
11. Transfer of Sentenced Persons: The two sides noted with happiness the signing of an agreement on the transfer of sentenced persons from each others' country so that they can undergo their remaining sentences in their respective home countries. Both sides will strive for early ratification and implementation.
III. Economic Partnership
12. Trade: The two Prime Ministers noted that trade has been an abiding link between the two countries and expressed satisfaction at the growing trade between India and Kuwait which was over US$17.6 billion in 2012-13. Taking note of the excellent bilateral trade relations, with the two countries being among the top trading partners for each other, the two sides agreed upon the need to further strengthen these ties particularly through diversifying the non-oil trade basket. Invitation by Commerce and Industry Minister, Shri Anand Sharma to his counterpart H.E. Mr. Anas Al-Saleh was accepted and it was agreed that the respective Commerce and Industry Ministers of India and Kuwait will lead business delegations in 2014 to further expand bilateral trade. The two sides will also encourage regular participation in each other’s trade fairs and exhibitions and facilitate other trade promotion measures. The two sides expressed satisfaction at the growing presence of Indian and Kuwaiti public and private sector companies in each other's market and agreed to further encourage such participation.
13. Investments: Recognizing the enormous growth potential of the Indian economy and acknowledging Kuwait's significant investment capacity, the two Prime Ministers discussed various avenues/instruments for Kuwaiti investments in India, particularly in different asset classes and various sectors as well as the disinvestments of Indian Public Sector Undertakings. The Kuwaiti side said that India was full of promise and potential and assured the Indian side of its willingness to make investments in India. The two Prime Minister agreed to establish a joint mechanism to regularly meet and promote investments between the two countries. The two sides recognized the need for arranging introductions/meetings between Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) and Indian public and private sector companies. Both sides agreed for regular and timely exchange of information on available investment opportunities. The Kuwaiti side welcomed India’s disinvestment of its Public Sector Undertakings and appreciated the efforts taken towards economic reforms, increased de-regulation and towards the creation of a conductive environment for foreign direct investments. The Kuwaiti side agreed to consider the Indian side’s suggestion to open an office of Kuwait Investment Authority in India in the future.
14. Energy sector: (i) The two Prime Ministers expressed happiness at the growing bilateral trade in the energy sector, with Kuwait becoming the fourth largest supplier of crude oil to India and noted with satisfaction that Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Oil of Kuwait H.E. Mr. Mustafa Jassem Al-Shamali had a useful meeting with Dr M. Veerappa Moily, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas of India, on the margins of the 5th Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable in Seoul on 12th September 2013, during which a number of proposals for enhancing bilateral cooperation in this sector were discussed.
(ii) The two sides agreed to focus on enhancing cooperation in energy, covering the areas of training and human resources development and cooperation in research and development and through promotion of joint ventures in petrochemical complexes and cooperation in joint exploration in India and other countries. The two leaders also underlined the need for partnership in strategic reserves storage facility available in India.
(iii) The two sides discussed their respective expansion plans in the oil sector. The Indian side briefed the Kuwaiti side about the capabilities and competencies of Indian companies in executing large refinery and upstream projects. It was agreed that an Indian business delegation comprising companies with expertise in oil sector projects will visit Kuwait to discuss business opportunities in this sector with Kuwaiti companies.
(iv) The need for enhanced cooperation in meeting the technical manpower requirements of Kuwait in the oil sector (specially for refinery projects) were discussed and it was agreed that the Indian side will assist in devising capacity-building and personnel training programs and extend other assistance in this regard. 
(v) The Indian side proposed long-term agreement (10 years) to meet the increased crude oil demand in the new refineries. The Kuwaiti side assured to study the Indian demands. The Indian side requested better terms, including abolition of LC and increase in interest free credit period up to 60 days. The Kuwaiti side agreed to consider favourably.
15. Financial Services: The two sides deliberated upon the need for strengthening bilateral cooperation in the financial services sector including banking, insurance and capital markets. The two Prime Ministers decided to expand cooperation between the financial institutions of the two countries like Securities and Exchange Board of India and Capital Markets Authority of Kuwait and the respective Central Banks, including through early conclusion of MOU between Securities and Exchange Board of India and Capital Markets Authority of Kuwait.
16. Science & Technology: The two Prime Ministers underscored the need for harnessing the scientific capability of the two countries and decided that the concerned agencies of the two countries will finalize a Program of Cooperation in the field of Science and Technology. Both sides agreed to work for closer cooperation in the field of science and technology, in particular in the field of agriculture, biotechnology, environment, information and communications technology, and non-conventional energy technologies. Exchange of experts would take place for developing a programme of cooperation in these areas.
17. Health: The Kuwaiti Prime Minister lauded the role played by Indian doctors, nurses and other paramedic staff in providing quality healthcare in Kuwait. The two leaders expressed satisfaction on the ratification and operationalization of the MOU on Medical Cooperation signed in New Delhi in April 2012. They directed that the Joint Working Group on Medical Cooperation to promote bilateral cooperation in this important sector, including through provision of medical personnel and training of Kuwaiti doctors in India and choosing the right recruiting companies by the Kuwaiti side.
18. Steel sector: The two sides agreed to encourage cooperation in the steel sector, including through joint venture for setting up a steel plant in Kuwait.
19. Project Exports: Both sides apprised each other of their plans for the development of infrastructure. The Indian side conveyed that its companies had acquired considerable experience and expertise in infrastructure development, including in power generation and transmission, civil construction, railways and metros, hospitals, airports, housing, roads, etc.
IV. Cultural and People-to-People Links 
20. Indian Community: Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh thanked Kuwait for hosting a sizeable Indian community, the largest resident expatriate community in Kuwait. He noted with satisfaction that Indians in Kuwait are highly regarded for their peaceful and hard-working nature. The Kuwaiti side acknowledged and praised the positive role played by the vibrant Indian community in the development of its host country.
21. Cultural Exchanges: The two Prime Ministers appreciated that Kuwait and India have close cultural affinity, which continues to underpin the bilateral relationship. They lauded the role culture plays in bringing the peoples of India and Kuwait together. They expressed their satisfaction that the Executive Programme for the Cultural and Information Exchanges for 2013-16 was signed during the visit. Both sides also agreed to explore the possibility of establishing Cultural Centres in each other’s country.
22. Youth & Sports: The two sides recognised the need for closer interaction between the youth of the two countries and sports exchange programmes and welcomed the signing of the MOU on Cooperation in the field of Sports & Youth Affairs between the two countries. The two sides also discussed establishment of a Youth Leaders Forum, which would bring together young leaders of both countries representing business, arts, politics and academia for exchange of views and ideas and to look at ways for promoting bilateral cooperation in these areas.
23. Education: The two Prime Ministers stressed the need for greater cooperation in the field of education and expressed satisfaction that the Executive Programme for Education and Learning Cooperation was signed during the visit. 
V. Regional and International Issues
24. GCC: The two Prime Minister acknowledged the close relations between India and the GCC countries and reiterated their commitment to further strengthen cooperation, including by finalising at an early date the India-GCC Free Trade Agreement. The Prime Minister of India wished the Prime Minister of Kuwait every success for the forthcoming GCC Summit being hosted by Kuwait later this year.
25. Syria: The two Prime Ministers were deeply concerned about the seriousness and complexity of the situation in Syria and called for concerted efforts by the UN-Arab league Special Envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi to facilitate and ensure appropriate atmosphere for the Geneva-II Conference. The Indian Prime Minister expressed his support for the success of the second International Conference of Donors to be held in Kuwait in January next year. The two leaders welcomed the efforts to hold Geneva II Conference and underlined that a peaceful political solution is the only way to put an end to the ongoing violence and bloodshed in Syria.
26. Afghanistan: The two Prime Ministers agreed that the Afghanistan issue concerned regional security and stability. Both reiterated their support for an "Afghan-led, Afghan-owned" reconciliation process and their commitment to working with regional countries and the international community to help Afghanistan achieve its objective of peace, stability, independence and development at an early date.
27. The Prime Minister of Kuwait Sheikh Jaber Al Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah thanked Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh for the warm and gracious hospitality extended to him and the members of his delegation during their stay in India. He renewed his invitation to Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh to visit Kuwait at a mutually convenient time, which was gladly accepted. The dates of this visit will be worked out through existing diplomatic channels.
New Delhi
November 09, 2013

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