Bahrain, India promote cultural openness, Indian PM stresses

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By Nayla Barakat

Manama, Aug. 24 (BNA): India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has praised the historical ties between Bahrain and India across all vital sectors, saying the traces of fraternal relations go back centuries.

Prime Minister Modi was enthusiastically welcomed by a crowd of 15,000 members of the Indian community who gave him a standing ovation as he entered the jampacked Bahrain National Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Modi told the cheering crowd that the signing of a historic MoU with the Kingdom of Bahrain would made it possible for Indian expats to pay and send money home in Indian Rupee by using RuPay cards.

The PM thanked His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa for the invitation and His Royal Highness the Prime Minister, Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa for a gracious welcome to Bahrain.

He said it was a proud moment for him while meeting with HRH the Prime Minister and he praised the role of Indian community and their contributions to Bahrain’s development.

He encouraged the Indians in Bahrain to be part of India's growth dynamics and invited them to introduce the wonders of India to their Bahraini peers as the PM believes in the growth of the tourism sector.

“I am happy to be here and paying a visit to the Shreenath Ji Temple in Manama, which is celebrating 200 years in region. It is not only a symbol of the spiritual and religious freedom that Bahrain offers but also the cultural openness that both countries promote,” he said.

In his address, he touched upon the Indian economic plans and shares his Government’s vision with the fellow Indians.

He said that India will be a $5 trillion economy by 2022 and encouraged the Indians in Bahrain to be part of the that growth initiative, adding that the people of India have patience and plans to achieve this national economic development target set by his Government.

Members of the Indian community in Bahrain have termed Prime Minister Modi’s visit a great success and believed it would further help cement the existing ties.

“This is a very important visit for the people of Bahrain in general and for Indian community in specific. We are very grateful His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa for inviting the Indian Prime Minister,” Mohamed Dadabhai, a leading businessman, told the Bahrain News Agency.

“The historic visit has opened up numerous opportunities for the future as the two countries enjoy deep-rooted relations that go back centuries. PM Narendra Modi is a leader recognized worldwide and Bahrain is fortunate to have him here. The community is very happy and is thankful to the leadership for inviting PM Modi,” he added.

Mukesh Gandhi, a prominent businessman and Hindu religious community leader, shared his delight and pride with BNA.

“We are greatly honoured by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain. His presence in the Kingdom reinforces the positive and outstanding relations and cooperation between the two countries,” he said.

“Over the centuries there have been strong economic, political, cultural and trade relations between the two countries. The Indian merchants first came to the Kingdom as traders of dates, spices, grains and pearls. The “Baniyan” community has an association called “The Thattai Hindu Merchants Community “which owns the Hindu temple property in the heart of Manama. Bahrain has always been open and welcoming to a diverse myriad of cultures and religions for over 200 years. We are planning to redevelop this property and build a larger temple premises that consists of A knowledge centre, a multipurpose auditorium and sanctum sanctorum. The project will be inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India. We look forward to this remarkable visit, which will serve as a progressive reflection for the Kingdom of Bahrain.”

He added that the community was grateful to Bahrain for extending the invitation.