|19 August, 2019

Modi visit to boost Bahrain-India ties

He will be accompanied by a delegation of senior Indian officials

Historic bilateral ties and talks on regional issues will be the focus of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day state visit to Bahrain next week.

Announcing details, India’s External Affairs Ministry said yesterday that the leader’s debut visit to the kingdom will take place on Saturday and Sunday.

He will be accompanied by a delegation of senior Indian officials.

A screenshot of the website with Indian Prime Minister Modi’s photograph urging people in Bahrain to register for an interaction as part of his two-day visit

“This will be the first-ever Prime Ministerial visit from India to Bahrain,” said the ministry in a statement.

Talks

“During the visit, Prime Minister Modi will meet and hold talks with His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa to discuss the entire spectrum of bilateral relations and also regional and international issues of mutual interest.”

The ministry added that His Majesty King Hamad will host a dinner banquet in honour of the Indian leader who will also launch the renovation of Shreenathji (Shree Krishna) temple in Manama.

“India enjoys close and friendly relations with Bahrain rooted in ancient trade and cultural links and people to people contacts and underpinned by regular exchange of high-level visits,” said the ministry.

Trade between India and Bahrain has been on the rise for the last few years, reaching about $1.3 billion in 2018-19.

Bilateral trade between India and Bahrain (value in dollar million)

Bahrain's investments in India (value in dollar million)

“Bilateral trade between India and Bahrain is showing an upward trajectory, especially at a time when there is stress on global trade,” Indian Ambassador Alok Kumar Sinha told the GDN yesterday.

“The latest trade figures show strength and confidence among the two countries.”

The embassy has set up a special website (www.indianpminbahrain.com) stating that Prime Minister Modi “will be interacting with Indian community members” during his visit.

Registration via the website was temporarily suspended yesterday due to the surge in traffic, but it was back up later.

There has been an overwhelming response from people eager to attend a public gathering to be addressed by the Indian leader at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre, Sanabis.

“We are trying our best to accommodate as many people as possible,” said Mr Sinha.

The GDN first exclusively reported about Prime Minister Modi’s visit on August 9.

There are about 350,000 Indian nationals in Bahrain comprising the largest expatriate community.

Exports

Latest data shows there are 23 branches of prominent Indian banks/companies registered in Bahrain as well as 3,181 Indian joint venture companies.

India’s main exports to Bahrain are mineral fuels, mineral oils, precious metals, cereals, nuts, fruits, articles of apparel, clothing accessories among other products while main items of import from Bahrain are crude oils, mineral fuels, their bituminous substance, distillation, aluminium, fertilisers, iron and copper.

His Majesty paid his first state visit to India in February 2014, while His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister, visited India in 2007, 2012 and 2013.

Before arriving in Bahrain, Prime Minister Modi will also make a state visit to the UAE on Friday and Saturday where he will be honoured with the highest UAE civilian decoration, the Order of Zayed, in recognition of his distinguished leadership and boosting India-UAE relations.

The award in the name of Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, acquires special significance as it was awarded to Prime Minister Modi in the year of the birth centenary of Shaikh Zayed.

He will also meet Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to discuss bilateral, regional and international matters of mutual interest.

“India and the UAE enjoy warm, close and multi-faceted relations underpinned by cultural, religious and economic linkages which, during the Prime Minister’s previous visit to the UAE during August 2015, stood elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” said the ministry statement.

“In February 2018, Prime Minister Modi visited UAE as chief guest at the World Government Summit while the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince has visited India during February 2016 and then during January 2017 as the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations.

Robust

“With robust flow of bilateral investments and an annual bilateral trade of about $60bn, the UAE is our third-largest trade partner.

“Also, the UAE is the fourth-largest exporter of crude oil to India.

“A 3.3 million-strong vibrant Indian community in the UAE nourishes the vibrant people-to-people contacts between our two friendly countries.

“The visit will further strengthen our friendly bilateral ties with the UAE,” said the statement.

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