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Brief on Indian Community  in Kuwait


            India and Kuwait traditionally enjoy close and friendly relations, with the Indian community in Kuwait being a living bridge. India has been a natural trading partner of Kuwait historically with the Indian Rupee being legal tender in Kuwait for over a century till 1961. As on date, Kuwait as a country, depends to a large extent on the Indian workforce. With one million strong diaspora (almost all NRIs) and the largest expatriate community in Kuwait, Indians constitute 21% of Kuwait’s total population and 30% of its total workforce.

Early Presence:

2.         In the 19th - early 20th century, Kuwait was a small trading port that was primarily engaged in maritime trade with the Indian sub-continent through the ports of Karachi, Mumbai, Cochin, etc. The Kuwaitis used to carry Arabian horses, dates and pearls on wooden dhows to India and return with timber, spices, textiles etc from India. Consequently, Indian traders also started arriving in Kuwait, drawn by the opportunities presented by the bustling trade activities. These traders were involved in various businesses, including textiles, spices, foodstuff, and other goods.

Economic Boom:

3.         The 1970s and 1980s marked a significant period of economic growth for Kuwait due to its oil reserves. This period saw a rapid increase in infrastructure projects, and the Indian community played a vital role in this development. Many Indian professionals and skilled workers were employed in the oil and gas sector as well as infrastructure projects.

Gulf War and Its Aftermath:

4.         The 1990-1991 Gulf War had a major impact on the Indian community in Kuwait. This led to a mass exodus of the Indian community from Kuwait, including evacuation by Government of India of over 1.7 lakh Indians through seaport as well as by air-lifting from Jordan. However, after Kuwait's liberation, most members of the Indian community gradually returned. While the Palestinians constituted the largest expatriate community in Kuwait pre-liberation war, their numbers decreased post-liberation war and gradually the Indian community became the largest in Kuwait.

Current profile of Indian diaspora  in Kuwait:

5.         According to latest statistics released by the Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI) of Kuwait, the population of Kuwait was 4.859 million (1.546 million citizens and 3.3 million expatriates) as of December 2023, showing an increase of 2.6 percent (or 122,700) over their population in 2022 (4.7 million). The labourers/ workers represent 61% of the total population of Kuwait (2.97 million) in 2023 and 75% of the total expatriates population of Kuwait. The Indian community remains the largest expatriate community in Kuwait and has crossed the one million mark.

6.         The Indian population has shown a stable and gradual increase over the years except during the Covid-19 pandemic period when the Indian population declined from 1,058,862 (in 2019) to 9,89,270 (in 2020). The trend in Indian population growth over the decades is as follows:


Total Population

Growth % age

Labour Population

Growth % age



























7.         Indians constitute 21% (1 million) of the total population of Kuwait and 30% of its work-force (approx 9 lakhs). Indian workers top the Private Sector as well as domestic sector (DSW) work force list;

8.         Among Indian professionals employed in Kuwait, the medical sector deserves a special mention. Indian doctors and paramedics are renowned for their expertise, helpfulness and empathetic attitude. There are some 1,000 Indian doctors, 500 Indian dentists, and some 24,000 Indian nurses present in Kuwait.

9.         The Indian community in Kuwait is considered hard-working, trust-worthy and non-interfering by nature. Indian businessmen, entrepreneurs, CEOs / CFOs, doctors, engineers, paramedics, nurses etc are kept in high esteem. The community remains closely connected to its roots back in India and through various associations, remains culturally and socially cohesive. Various community associations regularly undertake charity and other commendable initiatives in Kuwait. In summary, the Indian community remains a community of first preference for Kuwait. There are 26 Schools in Kuwait following CBSE curriculum with over 60,000 students, mainly Indians, some Arabs and South Asian expats as well. As per available information, there are not many Indian students pursuing higher education in Kuwait. Similarly, there are few Kuwaiti students in Indian Universities.

10. There are over 200 Indian associations encompassing areas of various social, cultural, and religion registered with the Embassy. They are involved in organization of large number of cultural events as well as humanitarian work. However, they are not registered as societies as per Kuwaiti law or under Indian Societies Act.