Swaraj holds wide-ranging talks with her Bahraini counterpart

first_imgManama, Jul 15 (PTI) External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today held wide-ranging talks with her Bahraini counterpart Shaikh Khalid during which they discussed ways to expand cooperation in a number of fields including tourism, oil and gas, petrochemicals, security, defence and intelligence training.Swaraj, who is visiting Bahrain for the third time, co-chaired with Shaikh Khalid the second meeting of the India-Bahrain High Joint Commission. The first meeting of the Commission was held in New Delhi in February, 2015.”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,” said a joint statement issued after the meeting.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, it said.They also discussed ways to enhance the 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, the joint statement said.They also exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, including recent developments in the Gulf, Middle East, West and South Asia.advertisementThe two sides 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. They also agreed to work together for the early adoption of India’s proposed Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the United Nations, the statement said.The two sides welcomed the signing of the agreement on exemption from short stay visa for holders of diplomatic and official/special passports. They 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.An MoU for cooperation in the field of renewable energy was signed during Swaraj’s 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.The two sides also agreed to strengthen coordination on consular issues taking into consideration humanitarian cases on both sides. They 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.They agreed to explore collaborative arrangements between National Space Science Agency of Bahrain and Indian Space Research Organisation (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.The two sides highlighted the importance of the regular meetings of well-established bilateral mechanisms and high-level bilateral visits.Swaraj recalled her visits to Bahrain in September 2014 and January 2016, during which she had an opportunity to meet and discuss range of bilateral and regional matters of mutual interest with the Bahraini top leadership.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.Shaikh Khalid recalled the historical and friendly relations between the two countries and highly appreciated the role and contribution of the Indian expatriate community in Bahrain’s progress and economic development.The Indian community of about 3,50,000-4,00,000 people forms nearly one-fourth of Bahrain’s population.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, the statement said.Both sides agreed on the importance of regular and timely exchange of information on available investment opportunities.The High Joint Commission was established by a MoU signed between two sides during the historic visit of Bahrain King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to India in February 2014. 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