External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna arrived here on Wednesday on his first stand-alone visit to a Gulf country to give an impetus to energy ties, foster closer relationship with this important Gulf Cooperation Council country and tap its surplus funds for India’s infrastructure sector.

With India sourcing over 11 per cent of its energy needs from Kuwait, Mr. Krishna held talks with the entire top leadership to further enhance ties and venture into areas such as joint production of fertilisers.

“This is an important visit for India and is the Minister’s first to the Gulf region. The intention is to intensify ties in the energy, culture, human resource and people-to-people contacts,” said Secretary (East) in the MEA, Latha Reddy.

Mr. Krishna also discussed the regional scenario including the situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan besides developments in Iraq, Iran and the Middle East peace process. In his talks with Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Kaber Al-Sabah, Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah and Deputy Prime Minister & Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, Mr. Krishna also raised the issue of reforms in the United Nations Security Council with the Kuwaiti leadership responding by envisaging a greater role for India in the international arena.

Both sides agreed on the need to jointly combat terrorism and discussed the need to exchange more information, especially among intelligence agencies on the manner, in which terrorists operate. “The leaders also discussed the nexus between terrorists operating in different parts of the world and how to curb their activities at the global level,” said Ms. Reddy.

In response to questions, Indian ambassador in Kuwait, Ajai Malhotra, said the Foreign Office was aware of the problems faced by the six lakh-strong expatriate population and exploring ways to address them. On alleged ill-treatment of domestic servants here, Mr. Malhotra said India had raised the issue in separate confabulations.

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