Kuwaiti prime minister arrives on four-day state visit

New Delhi, Nov 7 (IANS) Kuwait's Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah arrived here Thursday on a four-day state visit, the first by a Kuwaiti head of government in 10 years.

The Kuwaiti prime minister was received at the airport by Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed.

Sheikh Jaber is accompanied by a high-level delegation, including ministers, senior officials and captains of industry.

This is the first head of government-level visit from Kuwait to India since the post of Crown Prince and prime minister was bifurcated in 2003.

Kuwait is a major supplier of India's energy needs with almost 10 percent petrol imports sourced from the Gulf country.

India-Kuwait trade has doubled in the past three years, standing at $17 billion.

The visit comes at a time when both sides are planning to upgrade their ties from a buyer-seller relationship to a more strategic level, including in the fields of petrochemicals and fertilisers.

Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber is to call on President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice-President Hamid Ansari. He will hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The Kuwaiti prime minister will also attend a business luncheon meeting jointly organised by the three business chambers - Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Confederation of Indian Industry and Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India - on Friday. The delegation would also visit Agra.

Indians form the largest expatriate community in Kuwait at over 700,000.