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Indians in Kuwait and Gulf nations: A take a look at numbers


Rescuers arrive on the website of a constructing that caught hearth in Kuwait on Wednesday.
| Photo Credit: AP/PTI

The story thus far: Around 40 Indians have been killed in an enormous hearth that erupted in a constructing in Kuwait’s southern district of Al-Mangaf. A complete of at the least 49 migrant staff have been killed within the hearth that broke out in an house constructing in Al Ahmadi Governorate early on Wednesday. At least 50 different individuals have been injured within the incident.

Also Read : Kuwait hearth updates: Highlights on June 13

The Kerala authorities on Thursday introduced ₹5 lakh ex gratia compensation to households of individuals from the State who died within the Kuwait hearth tragedy and ₹1 lakh for individuals who have been injured. Minister of State for External Affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh has reached Kuwait to supervise help to Indians injured within the accident.

Indians in Kuwait

Indians have a major presence in Kuwait, and the 2 nations have traditionally loved cordial relations. In reality, the Indian rupee was authorized tender in Kuwait for over a century till 1961. Currently, nearly 1,000,000 NRIs stay in Kuwait, making it the biggest expatriate neighborhood within the nation.

According to information collected by the Embassy of India in Kuwait, Indians make up 21% of Kuwait’s complete inhabitants and 30% of its complete workforce. The Gulf War within the early Nineteen Nineties had a substantial affect on the Indian inhabitants in Kuwait, with over 1.7 lakh Indians requiring to be evacuated by sea and air (through Jordan) by the Government of India, however most of them progressively returned as circumstances within the nation improved. Palestinians made up the biggest expatriate neighborhood in Kuwait earlier than the liberation conflict, however their numbers dwindled and Indians overtook them.

From a manpower perspective, Kuwait is a vital nation for India. Yet, no strategic partnerships between India and Kuwait existed as of July 2023, in keeping with Ausuf Sayeed, former Secretary (Consular, Passport, Visa and Overseas Indian Affairs).

“However, we are keen to elevate the relationship with Kuwait… we have been engaging with Kuwait and we have recently concluded the Foreign Office Consultations. Kuwait is a very important country from our manpower perspective,” Dr. Sayeed was quoted as saying in a parliamentary standing committee report.

India has additionally signed numerous bilateral agreements with Kuwait. Around 15 agreements/MOUs are underneath completely different levels of finalisation, the Embassy of India in Kuwait famous. The Bilateral Investment Promotion Agreement with Kuwait, signed with an preliminary tenure of 15 years, got here into drive on June 28, 2003, and expired on June 27, 2018.

What is the Gulf Cooperation Council?

GCC, or the Gulf Cooperation Council, is a gaggle of six nations – Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain. The GCC was established in 1981 based mostly on regional and cultural proximity with the intention to advertise coordination, integration and inter-connection between member states.

Currently, the principle income for GCC nations is oil exports.

Why are Indian communities in GCC nations vital?

The Ministry of External Affairs’ Standing Committee Report on cooperation between India and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) famous that the area is a vital supply of inward remittances to India. “…remittances from the NRIs form a very important dimension of our engagement and our economic development. NRIs, especially from the Gulf countries, have been very instrumental. The last figures for remittances abroad from the diaspora and the overall Indians have been more than $120 billion, which is a significant figure. It has been a jump from the previous figure of $87 billion, which was in 2021. In 2022, we saw more than $115 billion, which is there,” the report mentioned. It additionally addressed Indians within the Gulf area as “very strong pillars for our economic development in the overall picture.”

The committee additionally famous that there’s potential to additional improve inward remittances and advisable that the MEA make diaspora-centric coverage targeted on the Gulf area for the welfare and safety of the Indian diaspora.

The GCC area contributes to about one-sixth of India’s complete commerce, the report mentioned. In FY 2022-23, India’s commerce with GCC nations stood at round $184 billion – an approximate elevate of 20% from the earlier yr. The authorities can be discussing a Free Trade Agreement with the GCC.

The MEA additionally mentioned that it’s shifting to a complete relationship with the GCC nations by way of power cooperation by encouraging participation in India’s strategic petroleum reserves, negotiating long run gasoline provide preparations, getting concessions in oilfields, and renewable power cooperation.

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