19 Nov 2018 14:17 IST

India, Bahrain may ink pact for cooperation in space tech

The agreement will be for training purposes and both sides will cooperate on research and technology

The Bahrain government is likely to sign an agreement with India early next year for cooperation in space technology, a Bahraini minister has said.

In February next year, the Gulf nation, hopefully, will sign a pact with Indian space agency ISRO for training and research purposes, Kamal Bin Ahmed Mohammed, Minister for Transportation and Telecommunications, Bahrain, said.

“The national science and space agency (Bahrain) and ISRO will sign an MoU. It has been approved by the Bahrain government and is in its final stage. And hopefully, I will be in India shortly, maybe in the next air show in February to sign the MoU,” the minister, who also holds the space portfolio, said.

The agreement will be mainly for training purposes and both countries will cooperate on research and technology, he added.

“It is just a starting point. The government will send some Bahrainis to be trained in India from January for eight weeks...to study how they can design and build satellites, Mohammed said.

Bahrain is also looking to forge closer economic ties with India to attract investment and tech companies.

“We are in continuous discussion with the private sector, CII and Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) which is the government agency to promote Bahrain and attract foreign direct investment, and India is one of the important markets for EDB. It has an office there. There will be a delegation there in December, the minister said.

He further said India is an important market and it will become one of the superpowers in terms of economy.

On investment from India, he said: “I believe Indian companies are becoming bigger, they are expanding outside of India and GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries offer them the best opportunity.”

“We are more focussing on technology and knowledge-based industry and services.”

India is an important business partner for Bahrain, and the kingdom is keen to further strengthen the relations with the private sector in India.

Trade relationship between the two countries also prompted many Indians to set up their businesses there.

“Located at the heart of the Middle East, Bahrain is the natural gateway to the Gulf region, with strong, efficient and cost-effective pan-GCC transport links and direct access to Saudi Arabia — the region’s largest market,” Bahraini officials said.