Bahrain can be the conduit for channelling the synergies of India and the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the head of Bahrain’s Economic Development Board said .
‘Like Bahrain, the gateway to the growing market of the Gulf, India is one of the most strategically located and economically balanced countries attracting investment from business worldwide,’ said the board’s chief operating officer Kamal Ahmed.
‘And like Bahrain, India has a strong track record of economic and social progress, bolstered by a young population, an expanding talent pool and a vibrant society,’ Ahmed said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF’s) India Economic Summit being held here.
The board, a strategic partner of WEF, formulates the economic strategy of the small Gulf kingdom and works to create the right climate to attract foreign investment. It also works towards enhancing trade between India, Bahrain and the Gulf.
Noting that people were talking about India, China and Gulf as the three new economic powerhouses, Ahmed said: ‘All have demonstrated a track record of growth and strong macroeconomic credentials to make them relatively resilient in the global economic downturn.’
Together, he added, ‘they have real opportunities for investment and bilateral trade.’
As per the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), India has seen a four-fold increase in trade with GCC countries over the last five years.
With the negotiations to the GCC Free trade agreement to be concluded soon, the trade volume could increase to over $40 billion by 2010.
‘Just as the GCC nations have invested in essential areas like infrastructure, education and healthcare, so must India in order to facilitate and support long-term, sustainable growth,’ said Ahmed.
Besides attending the WEF summit, Ahmed is also chairing a road show which he will be taking to Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai, besides Delhi, and which will showcase the benefits of establishing a base in Bahrain for Indian companies.