Countries sign 3 accords on
dual taxation, fighting drug trade, and cultural ties
IOC offers equity stake in
Pradip and Panipat projects
Kuwait promises to address
Indian worker needs
While signing 3 agreements, India and Kuwait expressed keen interest to expand
ties in oil, energy, construction, steel, fertilizers, food processing,
tourism, training, education, and healthcare. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and
Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah
agreed not to double tax businesses and individuals, cooperate in narcotics and
drug control, and boost cultural ties. Surprisingly, there was not mention
of terrorism in reports that followed the agreements.
Bilateral trade between the two nations had grown from USD 341 million in 1995
to USD 628 million in 2005, which is no where near the true potential for
growth. Al-Sabah also invited Indian investments in Kuwait and India invited
Kuwaiti investments in infrastructure and technology.
The Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) sought equity participation from Kuwait
Petroleum Corporation in the proposed Naphtha cracker petrochemical plant at
Panipat and the refinery project at Pradip. While specific numbers were not
divulged, the Pradip project is estimated at Rs. 21,000 crores (USD 4.56
billion) to refine 15 million tons of crude oil per annum. IOC also plans to
invest another Rs. 11,000 (USD 2.39 billion) in another Naphtha cracker project
adjacent to the Panipat refinery to produce 800,000 tons of ethylene and
600,000 tons of propylene a year.
Kuwait also promised to address concerns of Indian workers in Kuwait. Millions
of Indians works in white collar and blue collar jobs in Gulf countries and the
blue collared workers have recently struck out protesting appalling working
conditions and non-payment of wages.