Bahrain, India create cooperation framework
Bahrain and India have agreed to increase defence and security cooperation and to hold an annual security meeting between the countries.
The countries also decided to “strengthen sharing of information, intelligence and assessments” as they “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 United Nations.”
In a joint statement issued at the end of a three-day state visit by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa to India on February 18-20 at the invitation of the Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, the two countries welcomed the setting up of the India-Bahrain High Joint Commission.
The commission will be co-chaired by the Minister of External Affairs of India and the Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain and it will serve as an umbrella framework for bilateral cooperation. The commission will replace the India-Bahrain Joint Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation, which was established as part of an agreement signed in April 1981, the statement said.
The countries recognised the need to hold regular Foreign Office Consultations and decided that the next round of meetings would be held in the second half of 2014.
They also welcomed the signature of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation between the Foreign Service Institute in India and the Diplomatic Academy of Bahrain to strengthen cooperation through exchange of information, training of diplomats and joint research in mutually agreed areas, the statement said.
In the field of economic cooperation, Bahrain and India said they were satisfied with the growth and progression of the bilateral trade ties, with two-way non-oil trade reaching $1.268 billion (Dh4.657) in 2012-13.
“Both sides recognised the potential for greater trade and commercial exchanges and agreed to take necessary steps to provide an impetus to the bilateral trade turnover,” the statement said.
“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.”
The two countries highlighted the importance of strengthening cooperation in the field of science and technology, information and broadcasting, education, culture and sport and welcomed the signing of an MoU for cooperation in the fields of youth and sport. The other MOUs signed during King Hamad’s visit included one between the Bahrain Development Bank (BDB) and the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) to enhance financial and non-financial services for SMEs in Bahrain.
The other MOUs were between Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) and Nasscom; Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) and CII; Tamkeen and the National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC) of India; Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and University of Bahrain; and National Authority for Qualifications and Quality Assurance of Education and Training (QQA), Bahrain, and National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), India.
During his historic visit, King Hamad held talks with President Mukherjee, who hosted an official banquet in honour, Vice-President M. Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Sushma Swaraj, leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha.