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Exploring India and Arab world’s deepening ties

TDT | Manama     

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Indian Ambassador, His Excellency Vinod K Jacob, delivered a compelling address at the Bahrain Centre for Strategic, International and Energy Studies (Derasat), focusing on the evolving trade and security dynamics between India and the Arab world.

The speech, “Shifting Dynamics Exploring the Arab World and India’s Evolving Relationship with Emerging Powers and Prospects with Arabian Gulf States,” underscored the longstanding and robust ties that continue to drive mutual growth and stability.

Key Points on Trade Relations

Indian Ambassador highlighted the ancient trade and cultural relations between India and the Arab world, which have laid a strong foundation or today’s economic partnerships. Last year, trade between India and the Arab world reached over $240 billion, with India-GCC trade accounting for $162 billion.

The Arab world supplies 60% of India’s crude oil and more than 50% of its fertilisers, making these resources critical for India’s energy and food security. Significant Indian regional investments span food, energy, financial services, health, education, IT, and renewable energy.

Between April 2023 and March 2024, trade between India and Bahrain was valued at $1.73 billion, with India exporting engineering and electronic goods, petroleum products, gems and jewellery, rice, and meat products.

Maritime Security and Maritime Forces

The Indian Navy’s enhanced presence in the Arabian Sea focuses on combating piracy and drug trafficking, contributing to regional peace and stability.

Defence cooperation between India and Bahrain includes frequent port calls, joint training exercises, and participation in military symposiums. Indian naval ships have made 13 port calls in Bahrain over the past two and a half years.

India joined the Combined Maritime Forces in November 2023, contributing to efforts to ensure freedom of navigation in the region.

Strategic Engagement

Ambassador Jacob emphasised the establishment of the Joint High Commission, which facilitates agreements on political, economic, and cultural cooperation.

Recent visits by Indian and Bahraini leaders have further solidified diplomatic and strategic partnerships, resulting in agreements on cultural exchange and collaboration in space technology and the International Solar Alliance.

People-to-People Links

Over 9 million Indians reside in the Arab world, significantly contributing to local economies. Bahrain alone is home to 340,000 Indians, including professionals across various sectors.

Ongoing initiatives include the Indo-Bahrain dance and music festivals, youth participation in the G20 Y-20 summit, and training programs under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) scheme. Ambassador Jacob concluded by also emphasising the immense potential for future cooperation between India and the Arab world, driven by India’s robust economy and young population.