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Kuwait seeks more business, trade with India

Friday March 08, 2013 05:08:39 PM, IANS

New Delhi: After the visit of a large Saudi business delegation, a Kuwaiti business delegation is now headed here to explore possibilities of diversifying trade ties with India and encourage Indian companies to bid for gas and construct hospitals, schools and other infrastructure projects in the emirate.

The delegation from Kuwait, led by Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad, minister of Amiri Dewan (Royal Court), will pay a three-day visit to India to explore possibilities of expanding and diversifying trade between the two nations.

Kuwait is expected to spend a staggering $117 billion in various sectors over the next three years and it wants Indian companies to bid for gas, railways, construct hospitals and schools and other infrastructure projects.

The projects cover a wide range besides oil and gas sectors. It includes real estate, construction of new cities, hospitals, housing units, infrastructure, roads, airports, metro and railway projects, power and transmission, petrochemicals, gas processing and, pipelines.

The Indian government extended an invitation to Kuwait to send its trade delegation when Advisor to Emir, Sheikh Abdullah Abul Hasan, visited here last month to deliver a special message to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, urging him to help in transforming the Asian continent into an Asian union. Kuwait and other Gulf nations are keen to focus on India, China, South Korea and Malaysia in view of the economic recession in Europe.

Ambassador of Kuwait to India, Sami Mohammad Al-Sulaiman, said Friday that Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad, will have wide ranging discussions with Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily, Minister of External Affairs Salman Khurshid and Commerce Minister Anand Sharma.

The visiting delegation will discuss and explore the possibility of further enhancing the trade and commerce between Kuwait and India.

India is a major importer of crude from Kuwait. It imports about $16 billion of crude annually from Kuwait.

The bilateral trade is in the range of $17.5 billion and Kuwait is keen to diversify the trade relations.

India has consistently been among the top 10 trading partners of Kuwait.

Farouq Al-Zanki, CEO of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, who is accompanying Sheikh Nasser, is likely to meet ONGC Chairman Sudhir Vasudeva and Indian Oil Corporation Chairman R.S. Butola, to discuss ways and means to strengthen ties in hydro carbon sector.

There is a likelihood of exploring the possibility of joint venture for petro-chemicals complex between Kuwait and India, the ambassador said.

Salman Khurshid will host a lunch in honour of the visiting Kuwaiti delegation at Hyderabad House.

Sheikh Nasser will also call on Vice President Hamid Ansari. He will also meet the Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia.


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