New Delhi, Feb 14 IANS | 10 months ago

King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa is paying a state visit to India Feb 18-20, during which he will hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on bilateral, regional and global issues.

The visit -- his first to India -- is at the invitation of President Pranab Mukherjee.

King Hamad will meet President Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari and also hold delegation-level talks with the prime minister, said a ministry of external affairs statement.

India and Bahrain have close and friendly relations, characterised by shared interests, mutual trust and unique people-to-people contacts, the statement said.

Bahrain is an important trading partner for India with New Delhi's non-oil bilateral trade in 2012-13 exceeding USD 1.3 billion. Over 350,000 Indian nationals work and contribute to the development of Bahrain.

The positive and well-appreciated contribution of Indians in the development of Bahrain has been an important pillar of our excellent bilateral engagement. The visit is expected to provide fresh impetus to our bilateral ties, the statement said.

India has vital stakes in the Gulf and the Middle East region, which hosts around seven million Indians.

The region is the source of roughly two-thirds of India's crude oil requirements and is the largest trading region for us, accounting for over 26 percent of our global trade, the statement said.

(Posted on 14-02-2014)

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