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Bahrain seeks to strengthen trade ties with India, promises huge investment opportunities

twitter-logoPTI | January 25, 2019 | Updated 15:42 IST

By Barun Jha Davos, Jan 25 (PTI) Pitching itself as a gateway to the Gulf region, Bahrain is making a big pitch here at the WEF summit to attract investments and is promising huge opportunities for Indian investors. Simon Galpin, Managing Director, Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), said Bahrain also sees fourth industrial revolution (4IR) as a great opportunity that would help its economy be dynamic and agile. "We are seeking to capitalise on the 4IR opportunity by introducing a series of reforms across the economy, particularly in digitising industries such as finance, but also in education and logistics for example," Galpin told PTI during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF). He said Davos attendees view Bahrain in a very positive light and are seeing the vast potential the kingdom offers for overseas investors and are often surprised by the ease at which companies can set up their operations. On the response of Indian leaders he met here, he said India and Bahrain have a long history of economic and cultural ties and both sides are keen to further develop deeper relations in the future. "This ethos of collaboration is at the heart of this, as we look to build what we are calling the India-Bahrain business corridor - a mutually beneficial partnership that will see even greater trade, exchange of ideas and development of innovation," Galpin said. Indian political and business leaders are as excited as we are about our shared opportunities and continue to be amazed at the advances being made in Bahrain, he said. "One Indian investor I spoke to was astonished that he could set up his real estate joint venture in Bahrain without once going to a government department. Everything he needed was online," he said. On plans Bahrain EDB has for India, Galpin said they recently undertook a highly successful roadshow in India where they met with government officials and businesses, all of whom were keen to strengthen ties between the two countries. "Such success has encouraged us to open another EDB office in India, in addition to our existing Mumbai and Delhi representations. "Indians are the largest group of expats in Bahrain and are heavily involved in our economy, particularly in finance and real estate. But, future opportunities are even greater, with our investment environment improving day-by-day as the economy strengthens and ongoing economic reforms take root. "For example, Indian investors could take advantage of the 'Rules of Origin' principle in international trade to access less open markets like the United States and can help develop emerging industries such as fintech, that are increasingly blossoming in the kingdom," he added. Earlier at a session on 'India 4.0: Making technology work for all', Galpin said India has led the world with technology enabled governance such as its unique ID scheme (Aadhaar) which has transformed the way the country transfers welfare benefits to the needy and also accesses data for KYC and other validation purposes through secure and safe means. Cutting edge technologies of the future, including robotics, AI, big data and analytics, are already big opportunities in India, he said. Corporates and public sector organisations working across spaces such as fintech, bio similars, genome research and pharma are increasingly looking at India as an incubator of such advanced technologies for deployment at scale in global markets. PTI BJ ABM ABM

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