By James Mathew
Bahrain's ambassador to India, Abdulrahman M Al Gaoud, says IT and aluminium are key areas to develop ties
Bahrain is looking to significantly increase trade and investment relations with India, with IT (information technology) and aluminium being among the top focus areas, the kingdom’s top diplomat in India has revealed.
“Bahrain and India enjoy an excellent bilateral relation and we are working on utilising this framework to boost bilateral trade as also investments by the two countries in each other’s markets,” said Bahrain’s ambassador to India, Abdulrahman M Al Gaoud.
He told Arabian Business in an interview: “While there is potential to improve trade and investment across various sectors, sectors such as IT and aluminium are among the ones which have tremendous scope for growth between the two countries because of the globally competitive advantage India and Bahrain respectively have in these fields.
“Bahrain is one of the top producers of aluminium in the world and this is definitely one sector which holds potential for greater growth in trade with India. India also has alumina – the raw material used for aluminium production – and we can also look at increasing our trade in this area," added Al Gaoud.
The aluminium sector contributes about 12-13 percent of Bahrain’s GDP, with Aluminium Bahrain figuring among the top list of global aluminium producers.
Aluminium and aluminium products accounted for 21 percent of India’s $540 million import from the kingdom in 2019. Imports from Bahrain to India have seen a 35 percent increase in the last fiscal year.
"With India having a strong IT sector, Bahrain is looking to attract investments and technology companies from India at a time when our government is working on promoting technological and digital innovations across various sectors, including government sectors," the ambassador said.
"We are in continuous discussion – both at the government and industry level – for greater cooperation in the field of IT."
Al Gaoud said Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) - the government agency to promote Bahrain and attract foreign direct investment – is working closely with several industry bodies and state agencies in India to promote investments in the technology sector.
“India is one of the important markets for EDB,” Al Gaoud said.
India’s total capital investment into Bahrain between January 2003 and March 2018 has been estimated at $1.69 billion with financial services accounting for the highest investment value (40 percent of total), followed by real estate and hospitality sector.
As many as 3,200 Indian joint venture companies are estimated to be registered in Bahrain.
India’s total trade with Bahrain was to the tune of $1.28 billion in 2019, an increase of 30 percent from the year-earlier period.