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Joint Statement on the occasion of the State Visit of the King of the Kingdom of Bahrain to India

February 20, 2014

  • At the invitation of Hon'ble President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the King of the Kingdom of Bahrain paid his first state visit to India from 18-20 February, 2014. HM the King was accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising Ministers, senior officials and business leaders. He was accorded a ceremonial welcome in the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan on 19 February, 2014. Hon'ble President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee hosted an official banquet in honour of HM the King which was preceded by official discussions. The other bilateral engagements included meeting with Hon'ble Vice-President, Sh M. Hamid Ansari and delegation-level bilateral discussions with Hon'ble Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh. HM the King also received Hon'ble External Affairs Minister, Shri Salman Khurshid and the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Shrimati Sushma Swaraj.
  • HM the King expressed appreciation for the role and contribution of the Indian expatriate community towards progress and economic development of Bahrain. The Indian leadership expressed gratitude for the willingness of the Kingdom of Bahrain to receive and host a large number of Indian citizens and for ensuring their well-being and safety.
  • During the official meetings, the two sides underlined the close bilateral ties, deeply rooted in shared history and cultural affinities, sustained and nourished through growing economic linkages, multi-faceted cooperation and close people-to-people contacts. The wide-ranging discussions were held in a sincere, friendly and forward-looking atmosphere with useful exchange of views on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest.
  • The two sides agreed to further broaden and deepen the bilateral engagement in diverse fields of mutual interest. There was agreement on further enhancing high-level political exchanges, defence and security cooperation, trade and economic relations and people-to-people linkages.
  • The two sides expressed happiness at the regular exchange of high-level bilateral visits in recent years. Bilateral ties acquired a new momentum following the visits of HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain to India on 30-31 May 2012 and 17-18 March 2013. They welcomed the positive outcomes of the visits of Shri E. Ahamed, Minister of State for External Affairs on 4-5 June, 22-24 October and 24-25 November 2013 and of Shri Salman Khurshid, Minister of External Affairs on 7-9 December 2013 to Bahrain.
  • The two sides stressed the importance of continuing regular bilateral consultations through the existing institutional mechanisms. The two sides welcomed the setting up of India-Bahrain High Joint Commission to be co-chaired by the Minister of External Affairs of India and Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, which would serve as an umbrella framework for bilateral cooperation between the two countries. This would substitute the India-Bahrain Joint Committee on Economic & Technical Cooperation established as per an Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement signed in April 1981.
  • Both sides recognized the need to hold regular Foreign Office Consultations and decided that the next round of such consultations would be held in the second half of 2014. The two sides welcomed the signature of an MoU on cooperation between the Foreign Service Institute, Ministry of External Affairs, India and the Diplomatic Institute, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Bahrain, to strengthen cooperation through exchange of information, training of diplomats and joint research in mutually agreed areas.
  • Both sides stressed the importance of increasing the defence and security cooperation between the two countries. It was agreed that the security dialogue will take place annually between the two countries at the level of Deputy National Security Advisors. It was also decided to strengthen sharing of information, intelligence and assessments. Both sides denounced terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and reaffirmed their desire to strengthen their cooperation in combating terrorism at both the bilateral level and within the multilateral system of the UN.
  • In the field of economic cooperation, the two sides noted with satisfaction the growth and progression of the bilateral trade ties with two-way non-oil trade reaching US$ 1.268 billion in 2012-13. Both the sides recognized the potential for greater trade and commercial exchanges and agreed to take necessary steps to provide an impetus to the bilateral trade turnover. In this regard, the two sides commended the recent hosting of "Bahrain-India Exhibition & Conference” in Manama on 22-24 October, 2013 organised by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of the Kingdom of Bahrain in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB). It was noted that such events, including Bahrain’s participation in the Petrotech- 2014 and CII Partnership Summit-2014 at the ministerial level, would contribute to the realization of existing trade and investment potential. The Indian side welcomed the high-level business delegation accompanying HM the King.
  • The two sides welcomed the opening of a new branch of Bahrain and Kuwait Bank (BBK) in New Delhi shortly.
  • Both the sides noted the potential for increased mutual investments and agreed to provide favourable environment for investors from both countries. Both sides agreed for regular and timely exchange of information on available investment opportunities. Recognizing the enormous growth potential of the Indian economy, the Bahraini side expressed its willingness to consider investments in India. The Indian side recognized Bahrain as an ideal gateway to the GCC markets.
  • Both sides informed each other of their infrastructure development plans. The Indian side conveyed that its companies had acquired considerable experience and expertise in infrastructure development, including in power generation and transmission, civil construction, railways and metros, hospitals, airports, housing, roads, etc. and indicated that they were keen to contribute in upcoming projects in Bahrain. India invited Bahrain to invest in the power, ports, highways, supply chain, logistics and warehousing areas in India.
  • Both sides highlighted the importance of strengthening cooperation in the field of science & technology, information and broadcasting, education, culture and sports. They expressed satisfaction at the signing of an MoU for cooperation in the field of youth and sports.
  • During the visit, six other MOUs were signed, including the following:
    • I. MOU between Bahrain Development Bank (BDB) and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) for partnering for enhancement of financial and non-financial services for SMEs in Bahrain;
    • II. MOU between Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) and NASSCOM; III.
    • MOU between Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) and CII; IV.
    • MOU between Tamkeen and National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC) of India; V.
    • Memorandum of Understanding between Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and University of Bahrain; VI.
    • MOU between National Authority for Qualifications and Quality Assurance of Education & Training (QQA), Bahrain and National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), India
  • Both leaders noted that these MoUs will provide framework for enhancing cooperation in the respective fields between the two countries.
  • The two sides exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, including the security situation in West Asia and South Asia. Both sides also reiterated the importance of peaceful resolution of all issues through dialogue, be they regional or global.
  • The two sides acknowledged the close relations between India and the GCC countries and reiterated their commitment to further strengthen cooperation, including by finalizing the India-GCC Free Trade Agreement.
  • In the context of the UN reforms, both sides emphasized the importance of an effective multilateral system, centred on a UN reflective of contemporary realities, as a key factor in tackling global challenges. They stressed upon the urgent need to pursue UN reforms, including of the Security Council through an expansion in both categories of its membership, to make it more representative, credible and effective. HM the King reiterated his country’s support for India’s candidature for permanent membership of the UN Security Council as well as for Indian candidature as a non-permanent member of the UNSC for 2021-22.
  • His Majesty the King thanked Hon. President of India for the warm and gracious hospitality extended to him and the members of his delegation. He extended his invitation to Hon. President Shri Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to visit Bahrain at a mutually convenient time, which was gladly accepted.
New Delhi
February 20, 2014


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