India-Kuwait Chamber of Commerce inaugurated
New Delhi: To give a fillip to the traditional Indo-Kuwait relations, the India-Kuwait Chamber of Commerce (IKCC) was formally inaugurated on 8 December in the Commission Hall of the FICCI [Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries] here. The inaugural ceremony was graced by Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Union Minister of State (Independent charge) for Civil Aviation, Abdullah Al-Murad, Ambassador of the State of Kuwait in India and S M Khan, Press Secretary to the President of India. A large number of foreign diplomats, businessmen and other dignitaries were also present on the occasion.
Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Sirajuddin Qureshi (2nd from left) and Abdullah Al-Murad (right), Ambassador of the State of Kuwait at the inauguration of India-Kuwait Chamber of Commerce
India-Kuwait Chamber of Commerce website was also launched when Mr Rudy clicked the computer mouse on the IKCC website www.ikcc.org. The Kuwaiti Ambassador Mr Al-Murad released ‘India-Kuwait Panorama’, bi-annual journal of IKCC. The objectives behind the establishment of the IKCC are to develop trade, social, cultural and educational relations between India and Kuwait.
Abdullah Al-Murad is the chief patron. Sirajuddin Qureshi, an acclaimed philanthropist and industrialist is the president of IKCC while Manzoor Ahmed, former additional director general of police and vice-chancellor of Dr B R Ambedkar University, Agra, is the secretary-general of IKCC respectively.
Speaking on the occasion Prof Mohammed Mujtaba Khan, editor of the journal, said, "India and Kuwait, in particular, are, in a way, congruous. They are two societies at once—ancient and modern. The economic liberalization and privatization boom in India helped in increasing economic integration and interdependence between the two countries by increasing the movement of goods and services, capital, technology and people."
To facilitate the expansion of business relationships between India and Kuwait; to guide the Indian and Kuwaiti businessmen towards new business opportunities through market research and dissemination of business commercial and regulatory information in India and Kuwait; to analyze the economic and political policy announcements in India and Kuwait through regular reports to help the trade, and to sponsor scholarships, grants, awards in recognition of excellence in the fields of trade, culture and education, are some of the objectives to be pursued by the IKCC.
Sirajuddin Qureshi, president of IKCC, provided valuable details about the close cooperation between the peoples of the two countries for the past several decades. He hailed the ties between India and Kuwait and said that this has only been growing much to everbody’s enthusiasm. "The presence and contribution of expatriate professors, doctors, engineers, teachers, architects, traders, bankers and professionals from other fields in the gulf region has a fairly long and distinguished history. It is, indeed, because of its liberal policies in allowing Indian migrants to work in the Middle-East that ranks Kuwait fourth after Saudia Arabia, UAE, and Oman. The number of Indian NRIs in Kuwait has increased from 200,000 to 294,000 after the Iraqi aggression in Kuwait was over. They form the largest group of the expatriate community in Kuwait. The percentage of NRIs in the total population of Kuwait in the year 2000 was 13% i.e. 287,600 out of 2,200,000. More than 50% have an average monthly income of 4000 Dirhams (Rs. 56,000). They can have their families with them and form Indian Associations and live their own cultural lives," he said. Mr Qureshi also informed that in the year 1999, India was the third largest trading partner of Kuwait.
Shahzad Mohammad Khan, Press Secretary to the President of India, exhorted the gathering to pay special attention towards educational and academic sector. "Without education and all round academic excellence it would prove rather difficult to achieve a meaningful progress if at all," Mr Khan said in his soul-stirring speech. He noted with great satisfaction that India was emerging as a technological superpower in its own right and that Kuwait would certainly be benefited by the available Indian expertise. "Kuwaiti students particularly and Arab students in general should take admission in Indian institutes and universities which are prestigious and offer world class education in science and technology, medicine and other fields of education," S M Khan counselled.
Abdullah Al-Murad extensively dwelt upon the old relations between two countries and said that till 1961 the Indian rupee was a legal tender in Kuwait. He invited Indian businessmen to visit Kuwait to explore business avenues there, ascertain the demands of the people and try to fulfill them in an effective manner.
In his address Rajiv Pratap Rudy said that India is growing rapidly particularly in the spheres like Information Technology, space, research and medicine. Indian entrepreneurs have received accolades the world over and are known for their determination, sincerity and hard work. He emphasized the need for harmonious relations between the two countries and endeavour for accelerated pace of development.