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India, Kuwait to expand ties in key areas

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said that India and Kuwait have agreed to work purposefully to expand relations in key areas, including energy and investments



New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said that India and Kuwait have agreed to work purposefully to expand relations in key areas, including energy and investments

"India`s relation with Kuwait is rooted in historical links and enriched by the great warmth and goodwill between the people of the two countries. We deeply appreciate the personal interest that Prime Minister of Kuwait Sheikh Jaber have shown in the development of our bilateral relations," he said here today after the delegation levels talks with the Prime Minister of Kuwait Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.

"Today, Kuwait is one of our most valued partners and a close friend in an important region of the world, which is critical for India`s energy security, is among the biggest destinations for our exports and where more than seven million Indians work and earn their livelihoods," he added.

He further said that close relations between India and Kuwait are important to both countries.

"We reaffirmed our shared belief that close relations between India and Kuwait are important to both countries and acknowledged the vast untapped potential for our cooperation. We agreed to work purposefully to expand our relations in key areas, including energy and investments," he said.

Singh said that Kuwait is the fourth largest supplier of crude oil to India, and added that the two leaders discussed the development of a more strategic partnership in the energy sector between our two countries.

"This can be done through long-term supply contracts on mutually beneficial terms and the establishment of upstream and downstream joint ventures in the petroleum and petrochemical sectors," he said.

"India has proposed several specific projects for investments by the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation,` he added.

He also said that India offers attractive investment opportunities for Kuwait in the infrastructure sector.

"Our two sides will undertake discussions on specific proposals and appropriate investment vehicles for channelling Kuwaiti investments in India. A delegation of the Kuwait Investment Authority is expected to make an early visit to India in this context,` he said.

Expressing interest in the participation of Indian companies in infrastructure projects under Kuwait`s Development Plan, Manmohan Singh said that Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber assured that Kuwait welcomed Indian companies, they will continue to enjoy fair and equal opportunities there.

Singh also expressed gratitude to the Kuwaiti leadership for hosting 700,000 Indians nationals in their country.

"They are part of Kuwaiti society and are making valuable contributions to Kuwait`s development. Given that many of them are unskilled or semi-skilled workers, I requested Prime Minister of Kuwait for the continued support of the Kuwaiti leadership to ensure that the full protection of Kuwaiti laws and labour welfare measures is available to them," he said.

He also said that the two leaders recognize the importance of a peaceful resolution of the Syrian conflict, and hope that the Geneva-II conference will contribute towards this objective.

"Security cooperation has added a new dimension to our relationship and I expressed appreciation for Kuwait`s cooperation in this area. We agreed that countering radicalism and extremism is a common challenge. We also agreed to strengthen our cooperation in the area of counter-terrorism through institutionalized dialogue and training," he added.

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