opportunities for closer economictiesin the spotlight at iiss bahrain india forum

-2ndAnnual Bahrain India Forumhosted by the International Institute for Strategic Studies and the Bahrain Economic Development Board concludes in Delhi--High level Bahrain delegation showcases investment opportunities for Indian businesses in the Gulf -

New Delhi/ Manama,May2016: A high level EDB delegation, today concludes a successful visit to India to attend the 2nd IISS Bahrain India Forum, during which the multiple opportunities for Indian investors in the fast-growing Gulf region were discussed.

The Bahrain India Forum aims to encourage discussion between policymakers, business leaders and influential opinion formers from Bahrain and India. The forum analyses thevarious opportunities and challenges, exploring avenues for mutual growth and strengthening relations between the two nations.

The forum opened with a keynote address by Dr S. Jaishankar, India’s Foreign Secretary, who emphasised the importance of relations between Asia and the GCC. The Bahrain delegation’s participation at the event reinforces the strong economic and political ties that exist today between Bahrain and India in particular, founded on a shared history of trade and commerce that stretches back millennia.

The EDB was a main sponsor of the event and the EDB’s Managing Director, Simon Galpin, chaired a discussion focussed on finding business opportunities amidst regionalchallanges.

Dr Jarmo Kotilaine, Chief Economist at the Bahrain EDB, also took part in the forum and spoke on the importance of achieving sustainable growth duringtimes of worldwide economic slowdown:“The current global economic environment is undeniably proving a challenge to maintaining growth for many countries. However it is important to continue to invest in development even when resources may be scarce.

“As the first country in the Gulf to begin to diversify its activities away from the oil industry, Bahrain knows better than most the importance of a resilient economy and has worked hard to develop sectors such as financial services, manufacturing and logistics and ICT. There are boundless opportunities for cooperation with Indian businesses in these sectors and with its strategic geographic location at theheart of the GCC Bahrain is a perfect base for Indian companies to launch their regional operations and access the Gulf’s markets.”

Sir John Jenkins, Executive Director, IISS said: “In periods of low economic growth it is more important than ever to stimulate conversation between business leaders and policy decision makers, making sure that we confront challenges to economic growth head on and encourage opportunities for development. This is the second time the Bahrain India Forum has been held and we have built on the resounding success of the first. It is evident that India and Bahrain’s partnership is as strong as ever, as are the opportunities for further cooperation in the future.”

India is one of Bahrain’s most important trade partners, with trade between the two nations reaching $674 million in 2015. A number of large Indian businesses including State Bank of India, Tata Consultancy Services and JBF Industries have established operations in Bahrain as a means of accessing the wider Gulf region, valued at approximately USD 1.5 trillion. In addition Bahrain is home to a large Indian expat community, with more than 350,000 Indian nationals currently living in Bahrain.

The Bahrain EDB has offices based at the Bahrain Embassy in Delhi and the Bahrain Consulate in Mumbai that provide information and support to interested investors in the South Asia region. Investors looking for more information about Bahrain can visit www.bahrain.com or contact Ms Dharmi Magdani, the EDB’s Regional Director in India, on [email protected].