Remarks by ambassador Sibi George at the virtual open house at the Embassy
I welcome the office bearers of various associations who have joined us today; I welcome the media representatives who joined us today. I very well know that 1.30 in the afternoon is not the best time to hold an Open House. But due to the curfew timings, we have no choice but to organize it at this time of the day.
Let me begin today’s open house by thanking His Highness Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and Crown Prince His Highness Sheikh Mishaal Al- Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah for hosting the large Indian community in Kuwait.
Unfortunately, during this month we had to close down the public service at the chancery premises for ten days, though we continued the emergency services. We also continued the passport services at the three centers in Sharq, Fahaheel and Abassia. In fact, we had a few cases of Covid 19 infection at the Embassy. I am happy that all have recovered and we are now back to normal working hours, and also cleared all backlog. Please continue to use the multi-lingual feedback forms at the Embassy and at the three Passport centers. These feedback forms make a difference for us to keep monitoring the quality of services. We are also resuming the Legal Help Desk from this Saturday from 10 AM till 12 Noon.
Covid 19 situation continues to be worrisome in Kuwait. We need to be cautious. I appeal all to adhere to and abide by the regulations and procedures announced by the Government of the State of Kuwait, including the curfew timings. We have a few cases of deportation due to violation of curfew timings. The Government of State of Kuwait has consistently emphasized on the need to follow all the precautionary measures and guidelines issued by the concerned authorities. All Indian nationals are urged to take all necessary precautions in this regard including by avoiding all social gatherings. We had organized a Symposium on Covid 19 last month with involvement of Indian Doctors Forum. There has been an overwhelming response to the symposium which helped clarify many points. I thank IDF and its doctors for their cooperation and support. You would recall that during the Covid 19 crisis last year IDF was in the forefront of support to community including by extending telephone consultations.
I request all Indians in Kuwait to register for Covid 19 vaccines. We need all Indians to register for vaccines. No Indian can be left behind, we need to reach out to all Indians including domestic service workers, drivers, one and all. Everyone above sixteen years needs to register. Vaccine is the only way to get back to a normal situation. We have opened two counters at the Embassy premises for vaccine registration. Those who cannot register themselves are advised to avail the services at these counters. Please do not take the matter lightly. We have seen people loosing lives. We need to be extremely careful and cautious.
I have made ‘Covid 19 vaccines’ as the main theme of today’s Open House. It is the single most important issue that all of us including our Indian community face today. I see regular reports of people getting infected and falling sick. Situation is not good. We have a problem at hand. I want each one of you attending this Open House today to register for vaccines. I urge you to make sure that every Indian whom you know also register. I urge all associations, groups, volunteers and social workers to start a campaign to register. I have seen that some associations have already taken the initiative to launch the campaign. I would like to all associations to circulate messages to their members and also to reach out to all Indians in all parts of the country to register. I urge those without Civil IDs or without proper documents also to come forward and register with the Embassy. We will work with the authorities to ensure that all Indians get vaccinated. It is a work in progress.
At the same time, let me remind all that the Embassy, the Indian Community Support Group (ICSG) and all our associations are ready to provide all support to those in need. I continue to meet the community in small groups. Whether it is air tickets, or food material or emergency medical treatment or legal assistance, the Embassy is there to extend full support on means tested basis. You could also walk in and drop your requests for support from ICWF in the boxes kept at the Embassy and at our three passport offices. We are continuing our lunch program for all labourers visiting the Embassy throughout the week. Please contact the Embassy or the ICSG or any of the associations registered with the Embassy for any requirements or support.
Another important issue for us is the Examinations. For the first time in the history of Kuwait, we held JEE examinations in Kuwait this year. This is continuing. We also have now Kuwait as center for NEET and NATA examinations. I am sure that this would help many students during this difficult times. We will have more in our presentation that follows.
On the CBSE examinations, we are in regular touch with CBSE authorities and Kuwaiti authorities. I urge you to be in constant touch with the school authorities here. Your principals are the nodal points, Embassy officers are in real time contact with all stakeholders. We will do everything we can do to ensure that children will not lose an academic year and also to ensure the health and safety of all concerned including children and our teachers are not compromised.
We have a few unresolved issues like the Indian sailors on MV Ula and missing persons like Harish Shanker. You remember the uncle who spoke to me during the last Open House about his missing son, who went missing with his car. Unfortunately we are yet to get a breakthrough on the matter. We are working with the authorities. We have another case of Shri Ansar Kabeer who went missing this week, again with his vehicle. I have just been informed now that he has been located. We have made some progress in the case of the sailors on MV Ula. We also made some progress on the Engineers issue, with those uncovered areas such as fire and safety engineers. All these are work in progress.
I am getting mails from some people who are not able to get their service benefits and indemnities after resignation or after their termination. We are taking up these cases. Pleas continue to write to us.
Let me also brief you on the political developments in our relations with Kuwait. Foreign Minister of Kuwait H.E. Sheikh Dr. Ahmed Nasser Al Mohammed Al Sabah visited India last week, March 17-18. We have agreed to establish an annual Joint Ministerial Commission (JCM) to further strengthen our relationship in multiple areas including in healthcare, education, manpower etc. They also discussed issues related to the community including the welfare of facing difficulties due to Covid 19 pandemic. We will celebrate the 60th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Kuwait starting this month. We are launching the two yearlong celebrations of the 75th anniversary of our Independence at a function on March 31. We will also release the logo of the celebrations of the 60th anniversary on that occasion.
Before I conclude, I would like to bid farewell to two of our officers; Our Deputy Chief of Mission Shri Raj Gopal Singh is superannuating from Government service this month. I wish him and family a very happy and healthy second innings in life. We are also bidding farewell to Shri. Sibi U.S., Second Secretary (Labour). He has been heading the Labour wing for over four years now. I wish him a very successful career and him and his family a happy and healthy stay in his next station of assignment.
We will now have a presentation by Shri Fahad Suri, First Secretary and Spokesperson of the Embassy on what we did during February 2021. After his presentation I look forward to hear your comments and suggestions and also will answer your questions.