KUWAIT: Braving the scorching summer heat, thousands of Indians gathered at the Indian Embassy yesterday to celebrate India’s 70th Independence Day. The celebrations got off to solemn start with the unfurling of the national flag by Ambassador Sunil Jain at 8:00 am followed by the singing of the national anthem.
The ambassador read out Indian President Pranab Kumar Mukherjee’s address to the nation on the occasion, tracing the growth and evolution of the world’s largest democracy over the last seven decades after its independence in 1947. The ambassador emphasized that relations between Kuwait and India have been historically close, warm and friendly. He commended the contribution of the Indian community in Kuwait’s socioeconomic development.
On this auspicious occasion, he extended his warm greetings to the members of the ruling family and to all members of the Indian community in Kuwait. The ambassador highlighted several measures taken by the embassy for the welfare of the community.
India’s Minister of State for External Affairs Gen V K Singh is scheduled to visit Kuwait next month, the ambassador stated, adding that the visit will further strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries. Talking to journalists later, the ambassador informed that Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior has extended approval for the repatriation of around 70 domestic laborers who are housed currently in the embassy’s shelter. “The embassy has the approval to send them back to India and the process will be completed as soon as possible,” he said. “In the next phase, the embassy wants to send back all Indian illegal residents living in Kuwait. The embassy is seeking help from Kuwait’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in his regard,” Jain added.
According to one estimate, there are around 30,000 Indian illegal residents currently living in Kuwait. Kuwait has about 900,000 Indian nationals, working as businesspersons, doctors, engineers, chartered accountants, technicians in the oil and gas sector, construction workers, nurses, domestic workers, etc.
The cultural programs included a musical performance by the Bohra community and singing of patriotic songs by various Indian cultural associations in Kuwait. The presence of a large crowd representing a cross-section of the largest expatriate community in Kuwait reflected India’s rich ethnic, linguistic, religious and cultural diversity.
By Sajeev K Peter