New Delhi: India and Bahrain, home to home to nearly 350,000 Indian nationals, Thursday signed a key tax information exchange agreement and another pact on information technology to accelerate economic and joint investment between the two countries.
Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa held talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on a wide range of issues, including accelerated trade and investment, defence cooperation and combating terrorism. He also met President Pratibha Patil, Vice President Hamid Ansari and External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna.
After the talks, the two sides signed an agreement which will enable effective exchange of information between the concerned authorities in India and Bahrain which will help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance. Another pact was signed that will help them to forge joint ventures, joint initiatives, R&D and markets in the ICT sector.
The pacts, coupled with the government's recent decision to open the doors for qualified foreign investors from Gulf countries, have the potential to upgrade economic ties between the two countries.
Other steps that will boost economic ties included signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the setting up of the India-Bahrain Business Council.
India's finance ministry Tuesday has taken a decision to allow qualified foreign investors (QFIs) from six member-countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and 27 countries of the European Commission (EC) to invest in India to enhance foreign capital inflows. The GCC comprises Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman and Qatar.
Against the backdrop of the global economic slowdown and the eurozone recession, Bahrainn is looking East and specially to India for more investment.
Informed sources said Bahrain is keen to attract Indian investments in a host of areas, including construction, infrastructure and tourism.
Bilateral trade has been steadily growing and touched $1.5 billion during 2010-11. Around 120 Indian firms have set up operations in Bahrain, which has positioned itself as a gateway to over $1 trillion Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) market.