India Intelligence Report

   India, Kuwait Keen to Expand Ties



  • 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.