OIFC’s first Diaspora Engagement Meet this year brings together in Bahrain the Indian diaspora, industry leaders and investment opportuniti

OIFC Diaspora Engagement Meet, Bahrain - 6 Sept

An eclectic mix of about 400 delegates comprising overseas Indians as well as business and industry leaders from Bahrain attended the Diaspora Engagement Meet, a confluence to strengthen trade ties and explore investment opportunities in India, organized by Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC) in Manama, Bahrain today. In an initiative to improve investment and catalyze trade between the two countries, the Meet served as a privileged platform to explore and energize various investment avenues in India, and strengthen Indian Diaspora’s engagement with vibrant and strong India.

The summit was graced by the august presence of H.E. Mrs. Sushma Swaraj, Hon’ble Minister of External Affairs & Overseas Indian Affairs, Government of India, H.E Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Mohd, Al Khalifa, Hon’ble Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kingdom of BahrainH.E. Mr. Kamal Bin Ahmed, Hon’ble Minister of Transportation and Acting Chief Executive of Bahrain Economic Development Board, Mr. Prem Narain, Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indians Affairs & Chairman, OIFC and Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee, Co-Chairman, OFIC & Director General, CII.

A series of focused presentations on sectors like healthcare, medical tourism, pharmaceuticals, food processing and agri infrastructure highlighted business opportunities between India and Bahrain.

Kerala presented state’s initiatives for NRIs through NORKA-Roots. Discussion on policy framework to facilitate investments and economic engagement with India led by the Reserve Bank of India and leading banks, was a hallmark of the programme.

For the first time, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) participated in an overseas Meet organized by OIFC. DIPP shared with the audience the new policy framework for investment into India as well as iconic infrastructure projects like the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC). eBiz, an ambitious project of DIPP which aims to get all procedures, clearances on a common platform received much appreciation.

Emphasizing the need for making the overseas Indians a part of this development agenda, in her keynote address honourable minister Mrs. Sushma Swaraj said, “Our Government is firmly committed to bring back growth, have clear policies which will facilitate business environment, transparency and speed, well thought out decisions. The result is there before you in just 100 days. GDP growth is showing early signs of recovery. Our focus is growth with good governance and transparency with eye on manufacturing, infrastructure & trade.”  She added, “The huge gathering in this event signifies great hope from the Government. This is the same hope that the Indian voters showed in elections recently. A big win comes with a huge responsibility.”


Welcoming the Indian diaspora eagerly, she said, “Come to India, set up industries and join our dream of growth. Things are changing in India and you will experience in engaging with us. The Prime Minister of India, in Japan has already said that there will be no red tape, there will be a red carpet.”



Addressing the conference, H.E. Mr. Kamal Bin Ahmed, Hon’ble Minister of Transportation and Acting Chief Executive of Bahrain Economic Development Board, said that choosing Bahrain to mark the first visit of H.E. Sushma Swaraj to the GCC region underlines the value and importance of Bahrain’s relations with India. He added that Bahrain will further support the goals outlined by the Overseas Indian Facilitation Center and focus on further strengthening bilateral trade. The honourable Minister went on to say “the opening of CII’s office in Bahrain will further facilitate bilateral trade and investment. India is one of the key emerging markets and has been one of the strongest bilateral trade partners of Bahrain.”



Mr. Prem Narain, Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs & Chairman, OIFC said, “India has consistently taken significant strides to establish an environment and institutions for a sustainable, symbiotic and mutually rewarding engagement with the Diaspora. The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, with its various Institutions like OIFC and association with leading industry bodies has not only provided an enabling framework to facilitate economic engagement, but also positioned itself as the nodal point which Overseas Indians, Diaspora associations, stakeholders in trade, industry and governments turn to for information, partnerships and facilitation for all matters relating to overseas Indians.”


Mr. Narain further added, “India and Bahrain have had strong trade relations but now is the time for business leaders from both sides to explore new opportunities and sectors for bilateral trade promotion. The presence of top leadership from both the countries is an assurance for a supportive and business conducive environment. A focused initiative like the Diaspora Engagement Meet is another step in this direction to strengthen the mutually beneficial engagement with Global Indians in Bahrain.”


As a significant step towards galvanizing bilateral ties and exploring new areas of cooperating, OIFC signed two MoUs with Bahrain Economic Development Board and Bahrain India Society. Calling for structured engagement with the Indian Diaspora in Bahrain to link them with the India growth story, Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Co-Chairman, OIFC & Director General, CII stated in his welcome address that “The India-Bahrain friendship is founded on ancient connections and present-day mutual interest. During the state visit of His Highness the King of Bahrain to New Delhi in February this year, a new milestone in bilateral cooperation was established, and it is as a result of this vibrant relationship that OIFC is organizing its first Overseas Engagement Meet for 2014 here in Bahrain.”


Sending a clear message to the Indian diaspora along with the rest of the world exploring opportunities of economic engagement with India, Mr Banerjee added that “With the renewed investor interest in the development of India, we would like friends in the Gulf to participate more vigorously in the Indian economy. We welcome all, especially the Indian community here to take the lead in engaging with this new India and deepen the engagement between both the countries.”


With a prominent aggregate of business and industry leaders who attended the OIFC Diaspora Engagement Meet, it provided a suitable forum to acquaint the Indian community in the Kingdom of Bahrain and nearby countries with the various trade and investment opportunities in India which could benefit their businesses. OIFC is now preparing for the Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to be held in London from 16-18 October 2014.

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