Kuwait: With the global financial crisis affecting Indians in the Gulf region, vice-president Hamid Ansari has said the Government was mulling steps to ensure the welfare of expatriates reeling under the meltdown.
Addressing a gathering of Indian community in Kuwait, the vice-president, the first top Indian leader to visit the Gulf country in 28 years, said India’s “innate” caution has saved it from the worst effects of the economic meltdown.
“The good thing, as Indians, is because of the innate caution for which we were blamed has saved our country from the worst consequences of meltdown.
“It has affected us in some measure but by no means as it has affected others. Our growth rate which was 9% will now be 5.56%,” Ansari said, pointing that though it is not good but it is better than what other countries may achieve.
“Some people here are affected, some people in the Gulf are affected. These are the matters on which the government is thinking because the welfare of Indians is the primary responsibility of the government of the country,” he said at the reception last night hosted by the six-lakh strong Indian community, the largest expatriate group in Kuwait.
Noting that welfare of India and the gulf region was interlinked, Ansari said “we have a joint interest to make sure that we live in surroundings that are peaceful and productive. If the neighbourhood is dis-turned we are disturbed.”
With the world virtually turning into a global village, “the only answer... is for the countries to live together, in cooperation and contribute to each other’s well being and prosperity. No two countries are better placed than India and Kuwait”.
More so, as Kuwait is in “our extended neighbourhood” and part of a wider grouping GCC countries and we have each one of them excellent relations - political, commercial and economic, he said.
Praising the Indian community in Kuwait , Ansari said “it is a micro-cosm of India reflective of India’s diversity and talents that we as a people produce and of which we all are proud.”
Indians living in Gulf had remitted $27 billion in 2007 to make India the top receiver of migrant remittances.
Ansari said his interaction with Kuwaiti leadership convinced him of “genuine warmth of feeling that the they entertains towards India and Indians”.
Pointing to the process of of Lok Sabha elections, Ansari said “its not important who wins or who loses. What is important is every five years and so we have managed to do this exercise again and again peacefully and successfully”.