More than fifty Indian companies are in talks with Bahraini authorities to explore prospects of their foray into the kingdom, according to local media.
Gulf Daily News (GDN) reported bilateral economic relations and co-investment across financial services, ICT and startups sectors were expected to get a boost as a result of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi's debut visit to Bahrain this weekend.
GDN cited David Parker, a co-chief investment officer at Bahrain's Economic Development Board (EDB), as saying that India is viewed as a priority market in the kingdom's drive to develop an innovation-focused, knowledge-based economy that leverages fintech, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain.
A great opportunity to bolstering bilateral cooperation at various levels"
Highlighting new opportunities between India and Bahrain especially for start-ups, Indian Ambassador to Bahrain, Alok Kumar Sinha, said: India has the third largest start-up ecosystem in the world. Start-ups have emerged as an important area with immense opportunities for greater collaboration between India and Bahrain.
Modi's visit — the first by an Indian Prime Minister — is an extension of the historic relations between Bahrain and India and is seen by cabinet in the kingdom as "a great opportunity to bolstering bilateral cooperation at various levels," Fawzia Zainal, the president of Bahrain Council of Representatives, said.
"Bahrain is proud of its long-standing relations with India, which has contributed to strengthening the infrastructure of both countries and building bridges of cooperation in various fields. We look forward to this historic visit to further cooperation ... We welcome all leaders who carry appreciation and respect towards Bahrain and its people, and there is no doubt that this visit will positive reflections for Bahrain and the region," she added.
Bahrain's King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa visited India in February 2014 — during which the two countries signed several agreements worth $450m of trade and investment.