More than fifty Indian companies are in talks with authorities in Bahrain to set up businesses in the kingdom, Gulf Daily News (GDN) reported today.
GDN cited David Parker, a co-chief investment officer for financial services, ICT, start-ups and international offices at Bahrain’s Economic Development Board (EDB), as saying that India is viewed as a priority market in the kingdom’s drive to develop an innovation-focused, knowledge-based economy that leverages fintech, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain.
As Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Bahrain this weekend, bilateral economic relations and co-investment across financial services, ICT and start-ups sectors are expected to get a boost. The EDB, which has three investment promotion offices in India, is working on building fintech bridges with Indian states such as Maharashtra and Kerala.
“Indians are convinced that Bahrain fully supports fintech’s lean, agile model with economic freedom and long-term stability that enables entrepreneurs to benefit from the region’s lowest operating costs,” GDN quoted Parker as saying.
According to Parker, at least 12 new Indian businesses were expected to set up shop in Bahrain by the end of the year.
Highlighting new opportunities between India and Bahrain especially for start-ups, Indian Ambassador to Bahrain, Alok Kumar Sinha, said: India has the third largest start-up ecosystem in the world. Start-ups have emerged as an important area with immense opportunities for greater collaboration between India and Bahrain.
Bahrain’s King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa visited India in February 2014 — during which the two countries signed several agreements worth $450 million of trade and investment.
It's been announced that Rupay cards - the Indian indigenous equivalent of Mastercard or Visa - will be launched in Bahrain during the Indian prime minister's visit.
Indian oil companies are keen to invest in Khaleej Al Bahrain basin, TS Tirumurti, who deals with economic relations at India's foreign ministry, said on Monday.
(Reporting by Seban Scaria; Editing by Daniel Luiz)
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