By Sajeev K Peter
KUWAIT: A high-level business delegation from India is scheduled to visit Kuwait on May 8, 2023 with a view to fostering growing trade and business relations between Kuwait and India. The delegation’s visit, to be organized by the Indian Embassy, Kuwait in association with the Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC), Kuwait, is expected to help Indian businesses expand further into new markets in Kuwait and woo potential Kuwaiti investors into India.
The Indian Embassy will host an India-Kuwait investment conference titled ‘Unleashing Synergies’ on May 8, 2023 in Kuwait in association with IBPC. The conference will be held with the support of Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and Union of Investment Companies (UIC). More than 50 top Kuwaiti businessmen are expected to attend the conference, in addition to the participation of several Indian businessmen in Kuwait, as it will be a major business event in Kuwait, a person familiar with the matter said.
India, one of the fastest growing economies in the world, offers a plethora of opportunities for Kuwaiti investors across various sectors and India’s new foreign trade policy 2023 has been kept open-ended with a view to attracting more investors into the country, said an economic expert in New Delhi.
“India is currently looking for substantial investments from Kuwaiti investors in sectors other than oil and gas and healthcare,” the expert said on condition of anonymity. Other sectors such as food processing, IT, pharmaceutical, renewable energy and tourism and hospitality, among others, could also be lucrative for Kuwaiti investors, he mentioned.
Already there is a significant Kuwaiti presence in India including by Alghanim Group of Kuwait; KAPICO group; National Aviation Services; Agility Logistics, Hasibat Holding Co, KGA Group, KCIC, KIPCO, Global Investment House, Kuwait Finance House and Noor Investment, among others.
The visit in May will be a sequel to a similar visit by a 20-member business delegation from India last October. During the visit, the multi-product delegation comprising members from Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) held talks with officials of KCCI. While meeting with the delegation, KCCI member Talal Al-Kharafi said: “India is Kuwait’s fourth commercial partner with the value of trade exchanges between the countries amounting to $2.362 billion last year.” He assured the support of the chamber to Indian businessmen.
The Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) has invested $5 billion in India, and according to reports, it has plans to double this. Kirby Building Systems India, owned by Alghanim Industries, Kuwait recently inaugurated its newest Kirby plant, a pre-engineered steel manufacturing facility in Halol, Gujarat. The latest addition is the third Kirby Building Systems plant in India, and its seventh globally. Alghanim Industries Executive Chairman Kutayba Y Alghanim, along with Alghanim Industries and Kirby India executives, attended the inauguration of the new state-of-the-art plant, which took place on Feb 22, 2023.
Historically, India-Kuwaiti relations have always had an important trade dimension. India has consistently been among the top trading partners of Kuwait. During FY 2021-22, Kuwait was the 8th largest oil supplier to India and it met about 5.1 percent of India’s total energy needs. Total bilateral trade with Kuwait during FY 2020-21 was $6.268 billion, while trade recorded in FY 2021-22 was $12.243 billion, a growth of almost 95 percent y-o-y.
Importantly, several India-related funds have also been launched in Kuwait in the past few years. Similarly, several Indian public and private sector companies in finance and insurance sector have substantial investments in Kuwait.