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Visit of External Affairs Minister to Manama, Bahrain (July 14-15, 2018), New Delhi, 12 July 2018

External Affairs Minister, Smt. Sushma Swaraj is paying an official visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain on 14-15 July 2018 to Co-Chair the 2nd High Joint Commission (HJC) Meeting with Bahraini Foreign Minister H.E. Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Mohamed Al Khalifa covering a range of issues including, inter alia, political, economic, security and cultural ties. The first meeting of HJC was held in New Delhi in February, 2015.

During the visit, EAM will also meet with the Bahraini leadership to discuss bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest and inaugurate new Chancery-cum-Residential complex.

Bilaterally, India enjoys close and multifaceted ties with Bahrain, underpinned by regular exchange of high-level visits and extensive people-to-people contacts. Bahrain is an important partner for India in the Gulf region. Further 350,000 Indian nationals, the largest expatriate community in Bahrain, and more than 3000 Indian-owned/joint ventures have been contributing to the development of Bahrain.

This visit will provide an opportunity to further cement our mutually beneficial bilateral ties with Bahrain.  Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)

Remarks by External Affairs Minister at the Inauguration of New Embassy Complex in Kingdom of Bahrain (July 14, 2018), New Delhi, 14 July 2018.

Your Excellency

Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Mohamed Al Khalifa,


Distinguished Guests,

Dear Members of the Indian Community,

Ladies and Gentlemen...

I would like to thank the Hon’ble Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain for the warmth and hospitality extended to me and my delegation. This is my third visit to the friendly Kingdom of Bahrain. I am particularly delighted to be in Bahrain on the occasion of the inauguration of new Indian Embassy Complex which is a testimony to the deep-rooted relations between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Republic of India.

India and Bahrain share a long relationship lost in the mists of time when a flourishing trade existed between the Indus valley civilization and the Dilmun civilization. Bahrain was a transit point for the significant trade route that saw the exports of spices, ivory, timber and gems from India. For its part, Bahrain also had substantial trade with India in pearls and dates.

India and Bahrain in my view are thus the two countries which share a glorious past and a dynamic present.

The traditional openness and the goodwill, the high level of trust which Indian community enjoys in Bahrain and the regular high level visits between the two countries, including the landmark visit of His Majesty the King to India in February 2014 have brought India and Bahrain even closer. The journey that began centuries ago has arrived at a new phase in its course.

The new Embassy complex is the embodiment of historical civilizational connects between the two countries and the culmination of the aspirations of growing Indian expatriate community in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

I am hopeful that the state-of-the-art facilities in the new Embassy would help us serving the needs of the growing Indian expatriate community in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The Embassy has adequate facilities for a fully functional trade office to further facilitate greater commercial ties, given the renewed interest and positive sentiments amongst the business community of the two countries.

The new developments that have taken place in the economic field in the two countries, will take economic relations to greater heights. This multipurpose hall where we all are sitting is designed to further strengthen the already existing strong cultural exchanges and people-to-people contacts between the two countries.

In conclusion, I take this opportunity to convey our appreciation for Your Excellency’s consistent efforts to promote even closer ties between our two countries and to thank the Bahraini government for the support and cooperation in completing this beautiful chancery building. 

Thank you! Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)

India-Bahrain Joint Statement during visit of External Affairs Minister to Bahrain (July 15, 2018), Manama, 15 July 2018

The second meeting of the India-Bahrain High Joint Commission (HJC) was held in Manama on Sunday, 15 July 2018. The meeting was co-chaired by Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Hon'ble Minister of External Affairs and H.E. Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Mohamed Al Khalifa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bahrain. During the visit, Hon'ble Minister of External Affairs met with the King His Majesty Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, Prime Minister, His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain on 15 July 2018.

The High Joint Commission was established by a Memorandum of Understanding signed between two sides during the historic State visit of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain, to India on 18-20 February 2014. Both sides appreciated that the Commission at the level of Foreign Ministers reflects the depth and strength of bilateral ties.

H.E. Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmed bin Mohamed Al Khalifa, Minister of Foreign Affairs, cordially welcomed the External Affairs Minister of India and the accompanying delegation to Bahrain. He recalled the historical and friendly relations between the two countries and expressed satisfaction at the regular high level exchanges between the two countries. He highly appreciated the role and contribution of the Indian expatriate community in Bahrain's progress and economic development.

Reciprocating the warm sentiments expressed by H.E. Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Mohamed Al Khalifa, Hon’ble EAM Smt. Sushma Swaraj, expressed appreciation for the gracious hospitality extended to her and the accompanying delegation. She 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.

The two sides highlighted the importance of the regular meetings of well-established bilateral mechanisms and high-level bilateral visits, recalling the landmark State visit of His Majesty the King of Bahrain to India in February 2014, which laid a strong foundation to build a closer partnership between the two countries. Bilateral ties gained further momentum following the visits of HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain to India on 30-31 May 2012 and 17-18 March 2013.

The two sides recognized that the fourth round of Foreign Office Consultations held on 14 November 2016 in Manama provided an opportunity to take stock of entire gamut of bilateral relations and prepare the necessary groundwork for the holding of the second-High Joint Commission meeting. Both sides decided that the next round of such consultations would be held in New Delhi in the first half of 2019.

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. 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.

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. Both sides agreed on the importance of regular and timely exchange of information on available investment opportunities. They welcomed the establishment of Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) office in Manama, at the Economic Development Board Headquarters, to promote bilateral trade and investment between the two countries. Both sides also welcomed the holding of the Bahrain - India Week Forum 2017, held in Manama on 6-7 April 2017, and expressed their hope that the next forum will witness even greater participation from businesses from both sides

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, 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.

Both sides welcomed the outcome of the successful visit to India by H.E. Lt. Gen Shaikh Rashid Bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, Minister of Interior, in December 2015, during which an Agreement on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism, Transnational Organized Crime and Trafficking in Illicit Drugs, Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances and Precursors Chemicals was signed, and in this regard established a Joint Steering Committee (JSC), as well as the reciprocal visit of Hon’ble Shri Rajnath Singh, Home Minister of the Republic of India to Bahrain on 24 October 2016, during which the first meeting of the Joint Steering Committee was held to effectively implement the said agreement.

Recalling the condemnation of terrorism and the agreements reached for cooperation in counter terrorism in the joint statement issued during the visit of H.E. Home Minister of India, both the countries 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. The two sides agreed to work together for the early adoption of India’s proposed Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the United Nations.

The two sides welcomed the signing of the Agreement on Exemption from Short Stay Visa for holders of Diplomatic and Official/Special Passports. The two sides 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 making pharmaceuticals a key priority area in the bilateral relations.

The Bahraini side congratulated Smt. Sushma Swaraj on launching of International Solar Alliance by the Indian Prime Minister. An MoU for cooperation in the field of Renewable Energy was signed during the 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.

Both sides also agreed to strengthen coordination on consular issues taking into consideration humanitarian cases on both sides. The two sides 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 air show in the Region.

Both sides agreed to work together in the field of space technology. The two sides agreed to explore collaborative arrangements between National Space Science Agency (NSSA) 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.

Both sides noted the historical cultural links between the two countries nurtured by close people to people contacts and proposed an MoU between Isa Cultural Centre of Bahrain and Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) to further expand cultural exchanges.

Both sides welcomed the official inauguration of the new chancery cum residential complex of the Indian Embassy in Manama and it was agreed that the Bahrain Embassy in New Delhi will be allocated a plot of land in the new Diplomatic enclave in Dwarka.

During the visit, the following Agreements/MOUs were signed:

i) Agreement on Exemption from Short Stay Visa for Holders of Diplomatic and Official/Special Passports.

ii) MoU on Renewable Energy.

iii) MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Healthcare.

The meeting also provided an opportunity to exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, including recent developments in the Gulf, Middle East, West and South Asia.

It was agreed that the third meeting of the Commission would be held in New Delhi, dates for which will be decided through the diplomatic channels. Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)

Cabinet approves MoU between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance, Bahrain, New Delhi, 18 July 2018.

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today has approved Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF), Bahrain to work together to strengthen the accounting, financial and audit knowledge base within Bahrain.

Salient Features:

ICAI will provide technical assistance to BIBF by reviewing the current curriculum of BIBF related to accounting and finance;

ICAI will recommend introduction of its CA Course curriculum that will facilitate BIBF students to write ICAI's Examination with an aim to acquire membership of ICAI;

ICAI will provide technical assistance in holding ICAI's professional examination for qualified BIBF students;

 The MoU will provide an opportunity to the ICAI members to expand their professional horizon and simultaneously ICAI will become an entity to aid strengthen building of local national capabilities.

The aim is to work together to develop a mutually beneficial relationship in the best interest of members, students and their organizations.


Since Bahrain does not have a local professional accountancy Institute and it is the ICAI which has the collaboration with BIBF, this in turn is likely to build positive impact for Indian Chartered Accountants currently working in Bahraini markets and those intending to move to this country relatively easier. Bahrain having the confidence in the credibility and the ability of ICAI, is desirous of ICAI's assistance in promoting and developing its own nationals in area of accounting and auditing performance thus addressing issue of creating a base of competent accounting professionals to pave the way for gradual skill development in accountancy.


The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament of India, ‘The Chartered Accountants Act, 1949', to regulate the profession of Chartered Accountancy in India. The Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF) was founded in 1981 to provide the training and development of human capital in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB)


Unstarred Question No.137, Indo-Iran Relationship, Lok Sabha, New Delhi, 18 July 2018.


Will the Minister of EXTERNAL AFFAIRS be pleased to state:

(a) whether the United States of America has warned countries including India to stop buying crude oil and other products from Iran;

(b) if so, the details thereof and the reaction of the Government in this regard;

(c) whether the Government is considering to take up the issue with the US administration at appropriate fora;

(d) if so, the details thereof and the reasons for cancellation of bilateral talks between India and United States;

(e) whether India is continuing its economic relations with Iran in terms of both oil imports and the investment in Chabahar Port so that both sides can actually have satisfaction as strategic partners that they are able to address each other’s sensitivities; and

(f) if so, the details thereof and the steps being taken to make further progress in this direction?



(a) to (c) On 08 May 2018, the US announced that it would withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran and re-impose the U.S. sanctions, including on petroleum related transactions involving Iran.

India has maintained that the Iranian nuclear issue should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy by respecting Iran's right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy as also the international community's strong interest in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program. All parties should engage constructively to address and resolve issues that have arisen with respect to the JCPOA.

(d) The meeting of Ministers of External Affairs and Defence with the US Secretaries of State and Defence in 2+2 format was scheduled to be held in Washington D.C. on 06 July 2018. After informing the Indian side the meeting was postponed at the request of the US Secretary of State on account of his unavoidable and unforeseen commitments. Both sides have agreed to hold the meeting on mutually convenient dates.

(e) & (f) India’s bilateral relations with Iran stand on their own and are not influenced by India’s relations with any third country. High level exchanges, including the state visit of PM to Iran in May 2016 and that of Iranian President to India in February 2018 have taken place. In keeping with understandings reached during these visits, both sides are engaged in developing a long term partnership in energy; deepening of trade and investment cooperation; and an early and full operations of Shahid Beheshti Port at Chabahar. Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)


Cabinet approves renewal of MoU between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India & Saudi Organisation for Certified Public Accountants, New Delhi, 04 July 2018.

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2014 and approval for renewal of MoU between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) & Saudi Organisation for Certified Public Accountants (SOCPA) in Saudi Arabia to promote mutual co-operation framework in the areas of Corporate Governance, Technical Research & Advice, Quality Assurance, Forensic Accounting, issues for Small and Medium Sized Practices (SMPs), Islamic Finance, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and other subjects of mutual interest related to Accountancy profession.

Major impact:

The aim is to work together to develop a mutually beneficial relationship in the best interest of ICAI members, students and their organizations.

The MoU will provide an opportunity to the ICAI members to expand their professional horizons and simultaneously ICAI will become an entity to aid and strengthen capacity building of local nationals.

The MoU will further enable ICAI to promote the Accounting and Auditing profession and all matters that might lead to the development of the profession and improve its status.


ICAI has strong presence of 3 Chapters at Eastern Province covering Jeddah, Riyadh and Saudi Arabia, having more than 200 members who have been engaged at different professional level. The MoU will foster strong working relations between the ICAI & SOCPA thus giving strong professional opportunities to Indian Chartered Accountants in India and more confidence to employers in Eastern Province, thus creating significant employment opportunities for Indian Chartered Accountants.


The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament of India, The Chartered Accountants Act, 1949', to regulate the profession of Chartered Accountancy in India. Saudi Certified Public Accountants' Regulations issued under Royal Decree entrusted the "Saudi Organisation for Certified Public Accountants (SOCPA)" for promotion of the Accountancy and Auditing profession in that country. Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB)


8th India-Oman Joint Commission Meeting Begins in Muscat, Muscat, 16 July 2018

The Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, today co-chaired 8th session of India-Oman Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) along with Minister of Industry, Investment, Trade and Digital Economy of Oman, Dr. Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy. Addressing the Joint Commission Suresh Prabhu invited Omani companies to build on their success in India and make investments to benefit from ‘Make in India’ and ‘Invest India’ programmes which are aimed to encourage manufacturing.

The Commerce Minister said that the Government of India has launched several investment friendly programmes like ‘Make in India’ with a trillion dollar business opportunity in the country. He said that both countries are keen to expand collaborations to their mutual benefit in the fields of energy, health, business, finance and investments, infrastructure, travel and tourism. Suresh Prabhu added that apart from official interactions, people-to-people contacts and initiatives by private sector will energise cooperation in various sectors.

Areas of discussion in the JCM include cooperation in space, renewable energy, start-up, SMEs, food security, including durable foods and packaging, services sector, tourism sector, exchange of ideas and visit of young entrepreneurs.

He said that the Sultanate of Oman is a strategic partner of India in the Gulf and the two countries enjoy warm and cordial relations. The Commerce Minister said strong cultural and economic ties have further cemented these bonds. India Oman bilateral trade has registered a growth from US$4131.69 million in 2014-15 to US$ 6703.76 million in 2017-18. India’s export to Oman has grown from US$ 2379.44 million to US$ 2439.46 million in 2017-18.

Suresh Prabhu further said that the large, diverse and highly regarded expatriate Indian community in Oman is spread over the entire spectrum of professions and Indian nationals in Oman are well known for their hard work and dedication.  Outstanding contributions of Indians and People of Indian Origin in Oman to the strengthening of bilateral relations have been recognized by the Government of India through Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards. He also expressed gratitude to Government of Oman for the generosity shown towards Indian expatriates living there.  He said that India is fully committed to taking this relationship to a higher level and there is a need to hold the JCMs at more frequent intervals to expand and deepen the economic and commercial relationship.

Indian financial institutions such as State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, HDFC Ltd and ICICI Securities and Public Sector Undertakings such as Air India, Life Insurance Corporation(LIC), New India Assurance Co., Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd.(TCIL), Engineers India Ltd.(EIL), Engineering Projects India Limited (EPIL) and National Building Construction Company (NBCC) have presence in Oman. Indian companies have invested in Oman in sectors like iron and steel, cement, fertilizers, textile, cables, chemicals and automotive, especially in Sohar and Salalah. India-Oman Joint Investment Fund (OIJIF), a joint venture between State Bank of India and State General Reserve Fund (SGRF) of Oman, a special purpose vehicle to invest in India, has been operational and the initial corpus of US$ 100 million has been fully utilized. OIJIF has raised another $ 220 million for the second tranche which is being invested. Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB)


Official visit of Foreign Minister of the UAE to India (June 24-30, 2018), New Delhi, 01 July 2018

HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates arrived in India on June 24, 2018 on an official visit. After his official engagements in Delhi, he visited the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka where, apart from his other programmes, met with Governor/Chief Ministers to discuss matters of mutual interest. After completion of the visit, he departed from Bengaluru for Abu Dhabi on 30 June, 2018.

During his official visit to New Delhi, Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah met with External Affairs Minister, Smt. Sushma Swaraj on 25 June, 2018. Later during that day, the UAE Foreign Minister called on Prime Minister.

The two Foreign Ministers reviewed matters pertaining to bilateral, regional and international affairs. The talks were held in constructive and friendly spirit. The UAE has decided to open its Consulate General in Hyderabad. A Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between Foreign Service Institute of India and Emirati Diplomatic Academy was signed in Delhi. An MOU between Saudi Aramco, ADNOC and Indian Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas on Ratnagiri Refineries Pvt. Ltd. was also signed during the visit.

The official visit of the Foreign Minister of the UAE provided an opportunity to the two sides to constructively build on the vision of the comprehensive strategic partnership and to fast track decisions on cooperation in the areas of trade and investment, defence & security, energy including renewable energy, cultural, consular and community welfare issues, among others.

In line with the decisions taken during the visit of the Prime Minister to the UAE in February 2018, both sides reiterated to work together in select countries of sub-Saharan Africa in areas of priority to them, particularly through capacity-building initiatives, joint developmental projects in Agriculture, IT and ITeS, Health, Renewable Energy, Infrastructure, etc. aimed at supporting the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals. Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)

Compiled by Ankita Sanyal




As part of the policy, the MEI@ND standardizes spellings and date format to make the text uniformly accessible and stylistically consistent. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views/positions of the MEI@ND. Editor, MEI@ND P R Kumaraswamy