The visit to Kuwait by Indian vice-president Hamid Ansari and his team has borne some fruit with India and Kuwait on Tuesday signing three agreements for strengthening cooperation in science and technology, education and increased cultural exchanges. They also pledged to strengthen ties between the two countries.
A joint India-Kuwait Committee will be set up for scientific cooperation, which will meet every year. The two sides will also exchange scientists and information among institutions under the agreement.
Under the education and learning executive programme, the two countries will exchange books, research and study material as well as experts in general and specialised education.
The cultural agreement has a broad canvas that includes mutual participation in art exhibitions and book fairs and an exchange of library and art experts, scholars, and archaeologists between the two countries.
Students will be taught about the history, heritage and geography of each other's countries as part of the curriculum and take part in sports, cultural and other events there. Methods will also be sought on equalisation of each other's school certificates and diplomas.
India's soft power in the Gulf region, which is reflected in its 4.5 million Indian diaspora and the huge popularity of Indian films, is set to be in spotlight when it hosts a mini-cultural festival in Kuwait later this year.
Addressing a glittering function in Kuwait City, Ansari said, ''An Indian does not come to Kuwait as a stranger. The same holds for a Kuwaiti in India. Our two people have known each other for centuries and trade was the central element in their relationship. In the process, we familiarised ourselves with each other's cultures, manners and customs.''
Among other things, Ansari stressed access to the energy resources, freedom of navigation and safety of sea lanes, and access to markets for trade, technology, investments and workforce.
Praising Indian expatriates here for contributing to the "global profile of Indians" in Kuwait and in the Gulf region as a whole, Ansari said that the 580,000-strong Indian community in Kuwait, comprising businessmen, technocrats, engineers, doctors, professionals and service workers, had created a "microcosm of India" in the Gulf emirate.
Over five million Indians live in the Gulf region and send remittances of over $20 billion annually.