Jaishankar thanked the leadership for Kuwait’s prompt supply of Liquid Medical Oxygen and other oxygen related supplies to India to fight the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic in India, officials informed.
It may be recalled that Kuwait following India’s request decided to supply 1400 MT of medical oxygen through the air and sea bridge. This process continues in which the Indian Navy ships depart from Kuwait ports loaded with large oxygen tanks to transport them to Indian ports, and the Indian Air aircraft then transport the huge ISO tanks to Kuwait for refilling them.
Separately, a Kuwaiti Military Aircraft delivered essential supplies including oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders and ventilators early May. Thousands of oxygen cylinders have also arrived on board the Indian Navy ships.
During Jaishankar’s visit the two sides also discussed the challenges posed by the devastating COVID-19 pandemic and reiterated their commitment to jointly fight the pandemic. The topics covered also included food security, cyber security, cooperation in the energy sector and issues related to the Indian workforce in Kuwait.
Both sides agreed to hold the first meeting of the India – Kuwait Joint Commission Meeting later this year. The two sides also agreed to set up new Joint Working Groups in other areas of cooperation.
A MoU for Cooperation on the Recruitment of Domestic Workers was signed. The MoU brings the Indian Domestic Workers in Kuwait within the ambit of a legal framework which streamlines their recruitment and provides them with protection of law. It introduces an Employment Contract which ensures the rights and obligations of both the employer and the Domestic Workers including by endeavoring to establish a mechanism for 24 hours assistance to Domestic Workers.
This visit, amid the changing dynamics in West Asia, comes after the visit of Dr. Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs of the State of Kuwait to India in mid-March, during which he announced the establishment of a Joint Commission, chaired by the two ministers, under which a number of the Joint Working Groups would be established to enhance the cooperation in various fields such as trade, economic, investment, culture, petrochemicals and others, officials recalled.
The two ministers spoke several times since the second wave of covid and the Kuwaiti minister reiterated his country’s commitment to stand with India and provide relief materials, especially oxygen.
Last year Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel Dharmendra Pradhan’s visit to Kuwait to meet the new Amir of Kuwait laid a foundation for boosting ties and this later turned out to be a fortuitous opportunity which would assist secure oxygen to meet demands here following the second wave of Covid. Industrial oxygen is produced in large quantities in oil production and refining business including Kuwait. With some processing, this could be converted into medical grade oxygen and countries like Kuwait could be useful sources for liquid medical oxygen.
Last year an Indian Rapid Response Team comprising military medical professionals was deployed in the initial days of Kuwait’s battle against Covid-19, also helped immensely. Subsequently India had responded to Kuwait’s call for assistance by supplying 200,000 doses of Made-in-India vaccines.