BILATERAL trade between India and Bahrain grew by almost 10 per cent this year, signalling a modest recovery of economic ties amid the countries celebrating 50 years of friendship.
Trade exchange currently stands at $1.075 billion compared with $980 million last year (2019-2020), a figure which reflected a dip amidst the pandemic from the $1.28bn the previous year (2018-19).
Almost 75pc of Indians who left the country amidst the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) returned to Bahrain, beckoning the trust of the diaspora on the kingdom’s resilience.
These signs of retrieval coincide with the 75th Independence Day of India, the country which makes up the majority of the expat population in Bahrain.
Indian Ambassador Piyush Srivasta on the occasion praised Bahrain’s successful and strategic dealing with the pandemic. “We still continue to grapple with the pandemic,” he said in a message to the GDN.
“I am happy to note that several measures taken by both our countries for dealing with the health as well as economic challenges posed by the pandemic have shown positive results.”
He also endorsed Bahrain’s ‘exceptional care’ to its expat population, including providing free vaccinations, expressing gratitude to the kingdom’s leadership and government.
Current exports from India to Bahrain stand at $528m, compared with the $559m last year while imports into the country are at $547.9m against $421.5m last year.
According to the embassy’s statistics, 106,665 Indians travelled home from May last year till date, while 78,900 people returned within the same span. Indian government operated 78 flights as part of the Vande Bharat Mission launched in May last year to evacuate its citizens stranded due to coronavirus travel restrictions, which flew home 13,385 people from May 8 to September 11. Another 11,657 persons travelled to India on 68 chartered flights operated by various Indian associations in Bahrain from May 8 to August 30, last year.
The country also operated 660 flights under the air bubble between the two countries, a safe travel corridor established during the peak of the infection last September. These flights took home 81,623 from September 13 until last week. Whereas, an estimated 78,900 Indians returned to Bahrain since May 2020.
“This year assumes special significance as India and Bahrain are also celebrating the golden Jubilee of establishment of diplomatic relations,” added Mr Srivastava.
“Our two countries continue to have excellent co-operation and collaboration in fighting this global pandemic.
“Despite the restrictions posed by the pandemic, our deep-rooted multifaceted co-operation continued to grow,” he said, noting Foreign Minister Dr Abdullatif Al Zayani’s visit to India in April for the third India-Bahrain High Joint Commission meeting.
“Further, several measures taken by both governments for post Covid-19 economic recovery have opened up opportunities for further collaboration in sectors such as health and pharmaceutical, IT, education, tourism, hydrocarbon and food security. Both sides are also working to expand our bilateral co-operation to new and emerging areas of space, maritime security, renewable energy, big data and FinTech.”
The historic year for India is marked with a two-year long celebrations titled ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ (75 years of Independence) launched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March. The Indian Embassy has also lined up a series of events to mark the day in Bahrain, including an online session today at 6pm, which will be live streamed.