Agreements Between India-Bahrain | 26 Nov 2020

Why in News

Recently, India and Bahrain have agreed to further strengthen their historic ties, including in areas of defence and maritime security.

Key Points

  • The bilateral issues, as well as regional and global matters of mutual interest, included areas of defence and maritime security, space technology, trade and investment, infrastructure, IT, FinTech, health, hydrocarbon and renewable energy.
  • Both sides affirmed to further strengthen their Covid-19 related cooperation.
    • Bahrain appreciated the assistance provided by India during the pandemic through the supply of medicines, medical equipment and medical professionals.
    • They expressed satisfaction on the operationalisation of the Air Bubble arrangement between the two countries.
      • Air bubbles (travel corridors or travel bubbles) are systems established between two countries that perceive each other to be safe and allow carriers of both the countries to fly passengers either way without any restrictions.
  • India renewed invitation to Bahrain for visiting India for the 3rd India-Bahrain High Joint Commission meeting to be held in the upcoming months.
  • In 2019, India launched a USD 4.2 million redevelopment project of the Sri Krishna temple in the Bahraini capital, Manama.
    • The 200-year old temple stands as a testimony for the enduring India-Bahrain friendship.
  • India also conveyed condolences on the demise of late Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, who significantly contributed to the strengthening of India-Bahrain relations and to the welfare of the Indian community in Bahrain.

India-Bahrain Relations

  • Historical Ties:
    • Their history goes back to about 5,000 years ago, to the period of Dilmun Civilization in Bahrain to the era of Indus valley civilization in India.
    • Ancient Bahraini traders are believed to have carried out a flourishing trade of Bahraini pearls with Indian spices.
  • Bilateral Agreements/Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs):
    • Extradition Treaty (January 2004)
    • MoU on cooperation in the field of Information and Communication Technology (May 2012)
    • MoU on the establishment of a Joint High Commission (February 2014)
    • MOU on Water Resources Development and Management (February 2015)
    • Agreement on cooperation in combating international terrorism, transnational organised crime and trafficking in illicit drugs, narcotics and psychotropic substances and precursors chemicals (December 2015)
    • MoU for cooperation in the fields of Renewable Energy and Healthcare and Agreement on Exemption from Short Stay Visa for Holders of Diplomatic and Special/Official Passport (July 2018)
    • MoU on cooperation in the exploration and uses of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes (March 2019)
  • Trade and Economic Relations:
    • Total bilateral trade stands at USD 1282.96 million in 2018-19 and USD 753.60 million in 2019-20 (April-Dec).
    • Indian Exports to Bahrain: Mineral fuels and oils, inorganic chemicals, organic or inorganic compounds of precious metals of rare earth, cereals, nuts, fruits, articles of apparel and clothing accessories etc.
    • Indian Imports from Bahrain: Crude oils, mineral fuels and their bituminous substance, distillation, aluminium, fertilizers, ores/slags/ashes of aluminium, iron and copper, pulp, etc.
    • Indian investment in Bahrain:
      • India’s total capital investment into Bahrain between January 2003 and March 2018 has been estimated at approximately USD 1.69 billion.
      • Financial services have the highest investment value (40% of total projects), followed by the real estate and hospitality sector.
  • Indian Expatriate Community:
    • Approximately 3,50,000 Indians are living in Bahrain currently and around 70% are in the category of unskilled labour.
    • In addition to the predominant blue-collar labour force, there is a sizable number of other professionals who play a vital role in Bahrain’s socio-economic development.
    • In November 2015, Bahrain launched ‘Little India in Bahrain’ project to acknowledge and mark the contribution of the Indian community to the history and progress of Bahrain.

Source: IE