October 01, 2014
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) announced it chose Bahrain to launch its first office in the Middle East, with aims of building on the bilateral relationship between the two countries through attracting Indian investment into the region. The announcement came on the side lines of a high-profile business lunch organised by the Economic Development Board (EDB) in honour of Honourable Minister of External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs, H.E. Mrs. Sushma Swaraj.
The announcement is a result of the visit by Bahraini high profile business delegation to India earlier this year, which coincided with the historical visit of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and organised by the EDB and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. It aimed to encourage investment between the two countries and resulted in the signing of more than 20 MoUs and agreements.
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 sectorial 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, presenting 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.
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.”
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.”
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 total trade between India and Bahrain in 2011 exceeded $1.7 billion, according to the International Monetary Fund figures. 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.