September 06, 2014
Manama, Economic Development Board, 6th September 2014: The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has today announced that it will launch its first office in the Middle East at a ceremony in Bahrain.
The GCC is one of India’s most important trade and investment partners and the CII’s Bahrain office will aim to build on this relationship by encouraging Indian investment into the region. The launch represents a further strengthening of the relationship between Bahrain and India. There are over 350,000 Indian residents in Bahrain and total trade between India & Bahrain in 2011 exceeded $1.7 billion.
The CII is India’s leading business organisation, founded in 1895 and with more than 7,200 members and an indirect membership of over 100,000 enterprises from around 242 national and regional sectoral industry bodies.
The EDB also announced that it has signed an agreement with the Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC) to work together in promoting cooperation between Bahrain and India in a variety of key areas, including financial services and research.
The event was attended by a high-profile delegation, including H.E. Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Kamal bin Ahmed, Minister of Transportation and Acting Chief Executive, Economic Development Board (EDB), H.E. Mrs. Sushma Swaraj, Honourable Minister of External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs, H. E. Dr. Mohan Kumar, Ambassador of India to Bahrain, Mr Prem Narain, Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs & Chairman, Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre and Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII & Co-Chairman, Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre.
H.E. Kamal bin Ahmed, Minister of Transportation and Acting Chief Executive of the EDB, said:
“We are delighted to be hosting the CII in Bahrain – Indian firms have a great deal to offer the Kingdom, and the GCC market, which is currently valued at $1.6 trillion, presents an excellent opportunity for Indian businesses. This new office will build on what are already strong ties between our countries and the CII are the ideal partner to be working with.
“This announcement, along with the agreement we have signed with OIFC, shows our commitment to the Bahraini-Indian relationship, a relationship that has been at the heart of making Bahrain what it is, and we look forward to welcoming more businesses in the future.”
Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII & Co-Chairman, OIFC, said: “The Gulf is a very important partner for Indian businesses and we are delighted to be opening our first office in the region as we look to work for Indian Corporates as they look to expand internationally. Similarly, it would also facilitate promote investment from this region to India.
“The opening of our first office in the region is yet another step in developing our longstanding partnership with Bahrain and the region, and we are very excited about the possibilities this will bring in the future.”
Mr Prem Narain, Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and Chairman, OIFC said, “We hope that Indians overseas and Bahrain nationals will both be able to take advantage of this opportunity. Presently, there is a renewed interest in India as market, and India is also ready for investment. With the objective of strengthening India as the destination for business, OIFC has mounted a strong business delegation on the occasion of the Overseas Diaspora Engagement Meet and has signed an MoU with the EDB today with the hope that this will further bi-lateral interests and promote business interests in both nations.”
India and Bahrain have a longstanding economic and trade relationship. A large number of Indian businesses have already established operations in Bahrain as a means of accessing the wider Gulf market, a market which is expected to reach $2 trillion by 2020. Leading Indian companies with offices or facilities in Bahrain include: Tata Consultancy Services, Tech Mahindra, First Flight Couriers Ltd, KIMS, JBF Industries, Chemco, Canara Bank, ICICI Bank, Bank of Baroda, and State Bank of India. The EDB India office –with a presence in both New Delhi and Mumbai- provides assistance to potential investors who are looking to invest in the Kingdom.
Bahrain recently announced a new visa policy, which will be implemented in 2015, which enables residents of India to apply for electronic visas and to be able to spend longer periods of time in Bahrain, as part of the Kingdom’s commitment to bilateral ties between the two countries. The move came after a number of high profile Bahraini delegations to India in recent years, including the historical visit of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa earlier this year and official state visits led by His Royal Highness the Crown Prince of Bahrain, First Deputy Prime Minister, and Chairman of the EDB in 2012 and 2013.