By Rasha Al Ebrahim & Naila Barakat
Manama, Aug. 21 (BNA): Leading businesspeople, community leaders and Indian residents in the Kingdom have termed the upcoming visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's historic visit to Bahrain a milestone that would help to further cement the excellent ties between India and the Kingdom of Bahrain.
“The State Visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Kingdom of Bahrain is the first by an Indian Prime Minister. As such, this is a milestone in Bahraini-Indian relations. It shows the deepening ties between both nations and underscores the significance of Bahrain in India's West Asia policy,” Yusuffali MA, Chairman and Managing Director, Lulu Group told the Bahrain News Agency on the upcoming Indian PM Narendra Modi visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain.
“For the Indian community in Bahrain, which has contributed so richly to the growth of modern Bahrain, this is a crowning moment, and an honour and celebration of ties between India and Bahrain, the most harmonious, peaceful, prosperous and tolerant countries in the world,” he said.
“Bahrain and India are re-casting their millennia-old relations and besides a vibrant trade platform. I believe that the growth of India-Bahrain bilateral trade for the year 2018-19 has touched $1.282 billion, registering an increase of almost 30 per cent over the previous year and India has become the fifth largest trading partner of Bahrain.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Bahrain will be the first ever prime ministerial visit from India to Bahrain.
“As of March 2018, India's total capital investment into Bahrain was estimated at approximately $ 1.69 billion. Of this, we at the Lulu Group are particularly proud of our growing contribution of nearly $ 300 million in the Kingdom.”
“I am especially proud of the new-generation relationship between India and Bahrain in which we are seeing a robust growth in transfer of technology and vital R&D through telecommunications, Medicare and also a collaboration with ISRO. India is also a key player in Bahrain's and that is aptly visible in many sectors, right from oil to trade, infrastructure development to tourism and aviation,” he added.
“Apart from the strategical and political goals this visit will surely further boost the socio-cultural ties as well as the personal and warm camaraderie between the visionary leaders of India and the Kingdom of Bahrain. As India is marching towards its ambitious goal of becoming a 5 trillion economy, the Kingdom of Bahrain too will undoubtedly will play a key role in this thanks to already existing trade ties, close proximity, large Indian diaspora and above all the personal and warm friendship between great leadership of both nations.”
Sushil Muljimal the Chairman of the Hindu Temple in Bahrain, welcomed the historic visit.
“It is such great pleasure to have our Prime Minister visiting Bahrain," he said.
"It is a great opportunity to meet him in person and a great moment for Bahrain regarding the strong bilateral relations the two countries have. As the Chairman of the Hindu Temple in Bahrain, we have celebrated this year 200 years anniversary since the establishment of the temple, this shows the tolerant of Bahrain supporting the Hindu Temple and reflects the co-existence between different communities living together in harmony in Bahrain.
“We are positive about the outcomes of the visit that it will give a boost to all bilateral relations.
“Our celebration marking 200 year anniversary of the Hindu Temple in Bahrain was under the patronage of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and we have been receiving support from the leadership in Bahrain, this all was under the umbrella of The King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence and This is Bahrain Society," he said.
Meera Ravi, Editor of Salaam Bahrain Magazine told BNA that the first visit of the Prime Minister of India is indeed a milestone in the historic relations between Bahrain and India.
"As the world moves decisively past the first two decades of the 21st century, we are seeing new priorities and stronger links between India and her West Asian neighbors," she said.
PM Modi has re-cast West Asian ties and underscored the importance of the GCC to India as a partner in progress and vital commonality in anti-terrorism goals and action, she added.
“The modern ties that were forged between the two countries by traders in pearl and grain have been transformed into a relationship where Bahrain and India are collaborating in state-of-the-art technology in telecommunications and R&D in space research. Every Indian in Bahrain is eagerly awaiting this visit of PM Modi to Bahrain,” she said.
Harsha Bhatia, Director of Falcon Trading Company told BNA that the largest expatriate community in Bahrain is Indians, who have been contributing to the development of Bahrain.
"The presence of over 3,000 Indian-owned/joint ventures in Bahrain indicates the intense economic engagement between the two countries,” Bhatia said.
“Relations between India and Bahrain go back generations, especially of our Bhatia community with many of Bahrain's most prominent figures, which are shared in history and cultural affinities, sustained and nourished through growing economic linkages, multi-faceted cooperation and close people-to-people contacts," she said.
“These ties are exemplary and very important to us because it is a combination of an age-old friendship based on mutual respect and tolerance. We whole heartedly welcome this much awaited visit of a great leader of India which will bring greater joy, pride and inspiration to all Indians based in Bahrain."
Kaneka Subberwal, the founder of ArtBAB / Art Select, said that the first state visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Bahrain opens a new chapter in the progressive ties between the two countries.
"As an Indian resident in the Kingdom, I am delighted at the potential that this visit holds for even greater progress," she said.
"Ties between India and Bahrain are rich with creative energy and the mutual respect that people of both countries share enables us to maximize our contribution to the future. Both countries have visionary leaders and I think the visit will help to give new impetus to relations between Bahrain and India."
Avinash Saxena, Business Editor, GDN, said that he was "really excited about the first ever visit of the Indian PM which will strengthen the deep-rooted bilateral relationship."
"India has become the fastest growing economy in the world under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, who has set the target to make the country a $5 trillion economy in the next five years," he said.
"It is a great opportunity for Bahraini businesses to invest in India and benefit from the one of the largest markets in the world. Also, the Indian expatriate community has helped build modern Bahrain and I expect India businesses to continue to invest in the gateway to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)."