Bahrain opens embassy in India, seeks tech ties
Mar 21, 2007 - 1:49:16 PM
New Delhi, March 21 - Bahrain Wednesday opened a new chapter in its relations with India by inaugurating its embassy here and sought Indian cooperation in developing the technology sector in the Gulf country.
'This visit marks the opening of Bahrain's embassy in India. It's truly a valuable opportunity to reach out to people and businessmen here,' Bahrain's Crown Prince Shaikh Salman Bin Hamad al Khalifa said in his address at the Indian Council for World Relations - India's premier think tank.
'I am surprised why we didn't have a full-fledged embassy in India all these years,' Shaikh Salman said after opening Bahrain's embassy in the upscale Vasant Vihar area here that houses many other embassies.
'We can learn a great deal from India when it comes to the transfer of technology. The technology sector is a significant opportunity for cooperation between the two countries,' he said.
Tracing ancient ties between India and Bahrain, Shaikh Salman said the two countries have exchanged goods and services for generations. He lauded the 260,000-strong Indian diaspora for its 'substantial and much recognised contribution' to the growth and development of Bahrain.
Describing his country as 'a pioneer and outward looking nation' with a business-friendly culture, Shaikh Salman sought intensification of trade and investment with India. 'Bahrain is ready for rolling out the red carpet and cutting down on red tape,' he said.
Enunciating his country's perspective on major regional issues and the Middle East peace process, Shaikh Salman called for 'an equitable solution' to the Palestinian issue, which he described as the most 'emotive issue' in the region.
'The way forward is through dialogue and discussions,' he stressed as he called for the development of a 'more integrated, productive and prosperous Middle East'.
The crown prince, who began his four-day visit to India Monday, spoke of the 'intense change' his country is undergoing and ongoing efforts to implement democratic reforms as he conjured the picture of a vibrant nation confident of playing its due role in the region.
'You must be the change you wish to see in the world,' he quoted Mahatma Gandhi to illustrate Bahrain's approach to domestic and regional issues.
The crown prince and his delegation left for Agra in the afternoon to see the Taj Mahal. He will fly to Mumbai in the evening where he will have meetings with the city's business elite.
On Thursday morning, Shaikh Salman will visit aircraft carrier INS Virat at the Naval Dockyard. He will also visit the Bombay Stock Exchange and IT major Tata Consultancy Services' office before returning to Bahrain Thursday evening.
India and Bahrain Tuesday signed two pacts in the area of media and cultural cooperation. The crown prince held talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his senior ministers and discussed with them a wide array of bilateral and regional issues.
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