|Date: 16/05/2012 Time: 10:31:00 AM
The visiting Kuwaiti media delegation
comprising of noted journalists engaged in the first-ever interaction between
journalists from the two nations, arranged by the External Publicity Division
of India's External Affairs Ministry.
Ministry Spokesman Syed Akbaruddin formally welcomed the delegation,
consisting of ten journalists on a five-day visit, and hosted a lunch in their
Both the Indian and Kuwaiti journalists expressed concern over the
negligible presence of regular correspondents in either direction. Delegation
coordinator Adnan Khalifa Al-Rashid posed a question to Indian journalists as
to "why is it that there is no Indian media correspondent in Kuwait, while, on
the other hand, the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) and the Kuwait TV, each, has a
regular correspondent here."
The Foreign Editor of India's English daily "Hindustan Times" Pramitpal
Chaudhuri said in reply that the appointment of a correspondent in a
particular country or region depends on a wide range of feasibility factors.
These factors include interests of readers/viewers in that country or
region. He further stated, "Interests of readers depend on the prevailing
circumstances (like violence or political upheavals) in that particular
country/ region. Interest among the Indian readers about Kuwait had risen
during the Iraqi occupation, but then it was for a short span of time."
Supplementing the same, senior Indian journalist Saeed Naqvi said, "because
of the lack of interest among Indian readers for Kuwait, hardly anyone knows
about the occurrence of parliamentary elections in this Gulf country in
February, and none in India would know the poll results."
Journalist K.V. Prasad said that because of certain "feasibility factors",
the Indian English daily "The Hindu" has posted a regular correspondent in
Dubai only to cover the whole of West Asia from there.
The Kuwaiti journalists were shown a short TV documentary on the Indian
media. "There are more than 80,000 publications in various Indian languages
being published across the country, with nearly 7000 published from New Delhi
alone," the documentary informed the Kuwaiti journalists.
There was also discussion of state of affairs in other sectors which make
further expansion of exchange between the two nations highly feasible, most
importantly investment, with Kuwait a major investor and India a rising
economy lush with opportunity.
There is a huge scope of foreign direct investment (FDI) in India in the
fields of infrastructure, particularly hotels, and Kuwait could set up an
"Infrastructure Debt Fund" to tap this opportunity, India's Deputy Chairman of
Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia told the Kuwaiti group.
To a query, Ahluwalia said, "We welcome FDI in all fields, particularly in
manufacturing sector, pharmaceuticals, petro-chemicals, etc. India is
desperately short of hotels, and, being a huge country, it is also in the need
of quality infrastructure, which is still in the developing stage."
He pointed out that the Gulf's money is presently being invested in India
through Western countries. "Now, the Gulf countries should establish direct
contact with India to make FDIs," he advised.
Delving on the routes of making FDI in India, the Deputy Chairman said that
foreign investors can enter India either through the SEBI (Securities and
Exchange Board of India), or by registering with the country's central bank -
Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Still on the process of making FDI in India, he said that the initial
permission is granted by the Centre Government, and thereafter the logistical
support, like granting power connection or licenses, are looked after by the
concerned State Government (where the FDI is proposed to be made). "Once the
Centre Government grants the permission, the rest of the process of making
investment is the same for both domestic and foreign investors."
Commenting on growth of the Indian economy, Ahluwalia said that on an
average, it has grown at eight percent during the past five years, and at
seven percent during the past year. He said that the country's economy is
witnessing a slowdown as a spillover-effect of the slowdown in the world
economy. "Certain domestic problems are also adding up to the economic
slowdown, but we are making serious efforts to tackle those problems and are
sure to overcome them in near future. Decisions are getting delayed due to
these problems," he added.
On a down note, the official admitted that corruption is one of the major
problems India faces today, and said there is immense public outcry against
the widespread menace.