The second meeting of the Bahrain-India Joint Commission was held in Manama on July 15 and was co-chaired by Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Smt. Sushma Swaraj, the Minister of External Affairs of India.
During the visit, the External Affairs Minister of India met the King His Majesty Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, Prime Minister, His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain on July 15.
The Joint Commission was established by a Memorandum of Understanding signed between two sides during the historic State visit of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain, to India on February 18-20, 2014. Both sides appreciated that the Commission at the level of Foreign Ministers reflects the depth and strength of bilateral ties.
Shaikh Khalid cordially welcomed the External Affairs Minister and the accompanying delegation to Bahrain.He recalled the historical and friendly relations between the two countries and expressed satisfaction at the regular high level exchanges between the two countries. He highly appreciated the role and contribution of the Indian expatriate community in Bahrain's progress and economic development.
Reciprocating the warm sentiments expressed by Shaikh Khalid, Swaraj, expressed appreciation for the gracious hospitality extended to her and the accompanying delegation. She recalled her visits to Bahrain in September 2014 and January 2016, during which she had an opportunity to meet and discuss a range of bilateral and regional matters of mutual interest with the Bahraini top leadership.
The two sides highlighted the importance of the regular meetings of well-established bilateral mechanisms and high-level bilateral visits, recalling the landmark State visit of His Majesty the King of Bahrain to India in February 2014, which laid a strong foundation to build a closer partnership between the two countries. Bilateral ties gained further momentum following the visit of His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, to India in January 2004 and the last visits of HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain to India in May 2012 and March 2013.
The two sides recognized that the fourth round of Foreign Office Consultations held on 14 November 2016 in Manama provided an opportunity to take stock of entire gamut of bilateral relations and prepare the necessary groundwork for the holding of the second Joint Commission meeting. Both sides decided that the next round of such consultations would be held in New Delhi in the first half of 2019.
During the meeting, the two sides underlined their close bilateral ties, deep-rooted in shared history and cultural affinities, sustained and nourished through growing economic linkages, multi-faceted cooperation and close people-to-people contacts. The wide-ranging discussions were held in a friendly and forward-looking atmosphere, with useful exchanges of views on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest.
The two sides noted the existing potential for two-way investments and reaffirmed their desire to provide favourable environment for investments, both from public and private sectors, from the two countries. Both sides agreed on the importance of regular and timely exchange of information on available investment opportunities. They welcomed the establishment of Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) office in Manama, at the Economic Development Board Headquarters, to promote bilateral trade and investment between the two countries. Both sides also welcomed the holding of the Bahrain - India Week Forum 2017, held in Manama on 6-7 April 2017, and expressed their hope that the next forum will witness even greater participation from businesses from both sides
The two sides discussed in detail various aspects of bilateral relations. These included ways and means to expand cooperation in the fields of education, health, housing, renewable energy, space cooperation, tourism, culture, youth and sports, women empowerment, customs, oil and gas and petrochemicals,; security, defence and intelligence training and exchange of expertise, cooperation between universities in both countries and the possible exchange of researchers and faculty members in the fields of food security, cyber space and energy; as well as enhancing cooperation in the field of information sharing within the framework of existing Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Information Affairs and the Indian News Agency.
Both sides welcomed the outcome of the successful visit to India by H.E. Lt. Gen Shaikh Rashid Bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, Minister of Interior, in December 2015, during which an Agreement on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism, Transnational Organized Crime and Trafficking in Illicit Drugs, Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances and Precursors Chemicals was signed, and in this regard established a Joint Steering Committee (JSC), as well as the reciprocal visit of Hon'ble Shri Rajnath Singh, Home Minister of the Republic of India to Bahrain on 24 October 2016, during which the first meeting of the Joint Steering Committee was held to effectively implement the said agreement.
Recalling the condemnation of terrorism and the agreements reached for cooperation in counter terrorism in the joint statement issued during the visit of H.E. Home Minister of India, both the countries reiterated condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and called all states to reject and abandon the use of terrorism against other countries. The two sides agreed to work together for the early adoption of India's proposed Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the United Nations.
The two sides welcomed the signing of the Agreement on Exemption from Short Stay Visa for holders of Diplomatic and Official/Special Passports. The two sides agreed to consider further liberalization of visa regime for each other's nationals.
Bahrain and India agreed to explore opportunities health care Industry and welcomed the signing of an MoU for cooperation in the field of Healthcare, which would contribute in expanding the cooperation between the two countries making pharmaceuticals a key priority area in the bilateral relations.
The Bahraini side congratulated Smt. Sushma Swaraj on launching of International Solar Alliance by the Indian Prime Minister. An MoU for cooperation in the field of Renewable Energy was signed during the visit, which was welcomed by the two sides as it would encourage and promote bilateral technical cooperation on new and renewable energy on the basis of mutual benefit, equality and reciprocity.
Both sides also agreed to strengthen coordination on consular issues taking into consideration humanitarian cases on both sides. The two sides agreed to work towards integration of e-Migrate system with the work permit issuance system of Bahrain.
The two sides also agreed to enhance cooperation in the field of civil aviation and the Bahraini side encouraged Indian companies to participate in the Bahrain International Airshow- prominent airshow in the Region.
Both sides agreed to work together in the field of space technology. The two sides agreed to explore collaborative arrangements between National Space Science Agency (NSSA) of Bahrain and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in training, human resource development, use of space technologies and applications for developmental and other purposes and to benefit from the low-cost Indian experience in the operation and launch of satellites and other space areas.
18. Both sides noted the historical cultural links between the two countries nurtured by close people to people contacts and proposed an MoU between Isa Cultural Center of Bahrain and Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) to further expand cultural exchanges.
Both sides welcomed the official inauguration of the new chancery cum residential complex of the Indian Embassy in Manama and it was agreed that the Bahrain Embassy in New Delhi will be allocated a plot of land in the new Diplomatic enclave in Dwarka.
During the visit, the two sides signed an Agreement on Exemption from Short Stay Visa for Holders of Diplomatic and Official/Special Passports, an MoU on Renewable Energy, and an MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Healthcare.
The meeting also provided an opportunity to exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, including recent developments in the Gulf, Middle East, West and South Asia
It was agreed that the third meeting of the Commission would be held in New Delhi, dates for which will be decided through the diplomatic channels.
Source: Bahrain News Agency