Sushma Swaraj to visit Kuwait, Qatar

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj will embark on a two-nation visit to Kuwait and Qatar beginning from October 28 at the invitation of her counterparts.

Swaraj will have engagements in Qatar from October 28-29 and in Kuwait on October 30-31. This will be EAM’s first visit to both the countries, a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs read.

In Qatar, Swaraj will interact with her counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar. She will also call on His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar. During her visit, the External Affairs Minister will also interact with the Indian community in Doha.

“India and Qatar share millennia old historic multi-dimensional, relations. The bilateral visit of His Highness the Emir of the State of Qatar in March 2015 and His Excellency Prime Minister of Qatar to India in December 2016 and that of the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Qatar in June 2016 have further boosted traditionally cordial and close ties between the two countries,” the statement added.

Qatar hosts about seven lakh Indians who form the largest expatriate community there. The tiny Gulf nation is a reliable energy partner, supplying more than 50 per cent of India’s natural gas imports. The bilateral trade between the two countries was USD 9.9 billion in 2017-18.

In Kuwait, Swaraj will hold a bilateral meeting with her counterpart, His Excellency Sheikh Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait. She will also call on His Highness the Amir of the State of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and interact with the Indian community.

India and Kuwait have close and friendly bilateral relations. Kuwait is a reliable energy supplier to India and hosts about ten lakh Indians forming the largest expatriate community. India’s bilateral trade with Kuwait was USD 8.5 billion in 2017-18.

The two-nation visit is in pursuit of India’s objective of enhanced engagement with the Gulf region which is in India’s extended neighbourhood.

“It will provide an opportunity to hold in-depth discussions with the political leadership on a wide range of global, regional and bilateral issues and will advance India’s growing engagement with these countries in particular and the region in general,” the statement said.