Businesses upbeat on Indian Premier’s visit
MANAMA. Leading Bahrain businesses expect bilateral commerce and investment to further strengthen in the wake of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden visit to Bahrain this Saturday and Sunday.
Indians make up a large portion of expatriate population in the kingdom and trade between the two conuntries has risen to over $1.3 billion this year, shows data from the Indian Embassy.
Grant Thornton Bahrain senior partner Jatin Karia said, “India has been an important trade partner and ally of Bahrain for decades, with relations dating back to generations. Bahrain provides access to natural resources, along with offering a robust environment which supports the ease of doing business in the country. This has fuelled the growth of the SMEs and an evolving digital landscape which will support the drive of both countries to be positioned as smart tech enabled economies.”
As international liaison partner, Mr. Karia has supported an array of businesses from India whi have expanded their international footprint into Bahrain.
He said, “The cultural alignment, ease of business, trade correlation and geographic proximity of both countries makes Bahrain an attractive economy for dynamic Indian businesses who wish to expand across borders.
“We have supported the commercial and digital transformation of such businesses and believe the presence of Prime Minister Modi will further encourage businesses to visit and invest in Bahrain which is competitive when analysing the cost of business and has a road link to Saudi Arabia, the largest economy in GCC.”
India is Bahrain’s fifth largest trade partner, with aluminium and mineral fuels leading imports from the country.
Similarly, cumulative FDI flows from Bahrain into India have increased from $49.31 million in 2000 to $163.66m this year.
Grant Thornton Bahrain managing partner Jassim Abdulaal said Prime Minister Modi’s visit further reinforces the important bilateral trade relations of both countries, particularly given the ongoing FDI increase from Bahrain, along with access to resources, talent and smart industries which align to the strategic vision of India.
Key areas of synergies between the two countries are ICT and fintech and B Chandrasekhar, chief executive of AFS, a Bahrain-based payment solutions provider and fintech enabler for the region, said both India and Bahrain are championing innovative technologies in their financial landscape to transition to cashless economies and move closer to 100 percent financial inclusion.
The company launched bWallet, Bahrain’s first digital mobile wallet and payment solution in 2018, using technology developed by Indian mobility solutions provider Comviva, he said.
AFS has been working with leading Indian software developers and IT solutions providers for many of its products and services and expects that with the advent of open banking and 5G networks in Bahrain, there would be greater collaboration between businesses from the two countries to make use of robotics and artificial intelligence to develop faster, safer and more effective solutions.
Concurring with him, Trafco Group chief executive S Sridhar said, “Trafco being one of the largest conglomerates, and FMCG distributors of Indian food products for Bahrain is immensely pleased with the visit of the Indian Prime Minister”.
“I am sure the historic visit will pave way for deeper bilateral ties, building strong economic relations providing ample investment opportunities between the two nations.”