By S A H Rizvi
A grateful Indian community applauded “Thank You Kuwait” at an event organized by the Indian Embassy in Kuwait to express its gratitude to all the stakeholders who helped in the air-sea bridge set up by both the governments to ensure uninterrupted supply of emergency medical oxygen shipments from Kuwait to India during Covid 2.
Kuwait was among the largest contributors of medical oxygen to India and its immense contribution was both acknowledged and appreciated by the Government of India.
Ambassador of India H.E. Sibi George inaugurated the event and spoke about the strong, close and historic India-Kuwait friendship and expressed his gratitude to the Government of Kuwait, the concerned agencies, and people of Kuwait, as well as to the Indian Community in Kuwait for the assistance offered to India during the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic.
Ambassador Sibi George who played a pivotal role in the entire operation said the Embassy received full cooperation and support Ambassador Ali Sulaiman Al-Saeed from the leadership and officials of various ministries and public authorities such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Public Authority of Industry, Kuwait Port Authority, Kuwait Red Crescent, Civil Aviation, Ministry of Defence, and Customs authorities. Officers of each one of these organizations worked hard, even during the holy month of Ramadan.
He added that “during the course of these operations, we had six naval ships and four military aircraft from India ferrying the much-needed medical oxygen supplies and equipment from Kuwait to India; in addition, we had a Kuwaiti military aircraft and a commercial vessel arranged by the Government of State of Kuwait for carrying medical supplies to India.
The operation, which lasted for over a month and half, saw the supply of 425 metric tons of liquid medical oxygen, over 12,500 oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators, ventilators and other medical equipment from Kuwait to India.
In his virtual address to the gathering, Ambassador Ali Sulaiman Al-Saeed, Assistant Foreign Minister, Asia Affairs, in Kuwait’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, praised the excellent and age-old relationship between our two countries.
Among the senior most NRI and a senior member of Indian Community Support Group (ICSG) S K Wadhawan said it is to the credit and leadership of Ambassador George such a huge movement could take place as he not only meticulously coordinated the entire supply chain but also motivated the Indian community in Kuwait to join and be a part of this historic supply.
“The Ambassador invited us for an emergency meeting and told us the ICSG could be a part of this supply chain as a ship will be sailing soon. We immediately got into act and arranged more than 1800 Oxygen tanks, concentrators and other medical supplies”.
Even last year, the ICSG at the guidance of Indian Embassy had supplied food packets, medicines and other stuff to several thousands of Indians who were stranded due to lockdown and had no money to buy them, Wadhawan said.
Wadhawan said the pandemic saw a huge upswing in the century’s old relationship between India and Kuwait as last year Prime Minister Narendra Modi had rushed a team of specialized doctors, nurses and paramedics to help Kuwait fight Covid 19 wave last year in addition to supply of vaccines. HH The Amir and the Kuwait Government had deeply appreciated this gesture from India
It may be recalled Kuwait Ambassador to India H.E. Ibrahim Jassem al Najem recently told a roundtable that India has always been in forefront to help all countries in the world during time of crises. Now the world must come forward to help India fight this rampaging Covid-2 wave.
Wadhawan who landed in Kuwait in 1957 said the recent visit of External Affairs Minister Dr Jaishankar to Kuwait in June has also given a major boost to the bilateral ties between the two nations. “Dr Jaishankar visit has given a bold signal that India is attaching great importance to the region in its policy statement”
India and Kuwait have decided to celebrate year long functions to mark the establishment of 60 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. “ We are also planning a series of events to showcase the strong ties between the two friendly nations “ he concluded