NEW DELHI: India and energy rich Bahrain on Wednesday decided to constitute a joint commission to boost ties after a meeting between PM Manmohan Singh and King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa who is on his maiden visit to India.
The joint commission will be chaired by the two foreign ministers and serve as an umbrella framework for all bilateral cooperation between the two countries. Two other agreements were also signed.
Bahrain royal court minister Ahmed bin Ateytallah Al Khalifa described Indians, who constitute one-third of Bahrain’s population, as builders of modern Bahrain. “Our trade balance with India was $2 billion in 2011. It is poised to increase significantly with this first ever visit by His Majesty,” he said.
They reviewed bilateral trade and agreed to boost economic cooperation in diverse sectors. Bahrain has been seeking investment from Indian firms in various sectors.
Indian IT companies like Tata Consultancy Services, Rolta, TechMahindra, 3i Infotech and Aptech already have a presence in Bahrain.
After talks between Singh and Khalifa, both sides inked three pacts to strengthen ties in the fields of economic engagement, sports and to ensure cooperation between Foreign Service Institute of external affairs ministry and the Diplomatic Institute of ministry of foreign affairs of Bahrain.
The MoU in the field of youth and sports aims to strengthen bilateral cooperation through institutional exchanges, particularly through exchange of youth and sports teams in various disciplines.
The king’s father, Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, had visited India in 1981. External affairs minister Salman Khurshid had visited Bahrain in December. Bahrain’s foreign minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa had toured India in October 2009.