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CELEBRATING THE SPIRIT OF INDIA

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Grand Indian Republic Day Festivities in Bahrain

By Raji Unnikrishnan

The Indian Embassy in Bahrain hosted a magnificent celebration to mark the 75th Indian Republic Day (January 26), with a reception for esteemed guests on the eve of the day, followed by a poignant flag hoisting ceremony at the embassy, symbolising the enduring friendship between India and Bahrain.

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Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Dr Abdullatif Al Zayani was the chief guest at the Diplomatic Raddison Blu Hotel and Spa reception, held by the Indian Embassy.

Indian Ambassador HE Vinod K Jacob who welcomed the guests, addressed the audience with a briefing on the bilateral ties between the two friendly nations.

“In the important area of people to people ties, both countries have deepened cooperation,” he said.

“During the period January to December 2023, my embassy issued 5,329 visas. According to Bahraini data, during the period January to September 2023, almost 800,000 Indians visited Bahrain, representing a nearly 60 per cent increase over the corresponding period in 2022.”

Dr Al Zayani who initiated his address with a ‘namaskar’, the traditional Indian way of greeting, lauded the deep-rooted friendship between the two countries, which he said developed over time.

“In the past decade, our collaboration has grown stronger and has effectively worked together across various domains for the mutual benefit of our nations,” he said, emphasising cooperation in various areas including the economy, culture, youth, sports, and others.

“As we look ahead, we see numerous opportunities for forging avenues of cooperation and expanding existing ones, leveraging our shared strengths and potential. With our longstanding history of cultural, economic, and personal exchange coupled with our shared values and interests, Bahrain and India complement each other effectively across a wide spectrum of endeavours.”

Over 450 dignitaries, including Parliament members, council heads, senior Bahraini officials, diplomats, Indian and Bahraini community members, and members of the media, attended the event. The evening also featured a Garba dance performance, the Interior Ministry band, a defence corner, and an attar corner featuring attar varieties from Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh. The dinner reception featured a culinary journey through different regions of India.

On the day, after the flag hoisting ceremony at the embassy complex in Seef, Mr Jacob read out excerpts from the Republic Day address of Indian President Droupadi Murmu. Subsequently, in his address, Mr Jacob highlighted that ‘data speaks’ for the excellent bilateral ties that the nations share.

“I expect the bilateral trade to reach $1.4 million in the financial year 2023-2024,” he said.

“Cumulative two-way investment for the period between 2000 and 2023 was around $1.4 billion. We are very much committed to strengthening this bilateral relationship, especially on the investment side.”

He once again reiterated the importance of people-to-people relations, thanking the community for their support.

“I think we are at the high point of India-Bahrain bilateral relations for the past 4,000 years, and the one critical factor (contributing to this) is the Indian community here and I thank you for that and appreciate all the work that you are doing.”

The Indian School band performed at the venue, and the event was attended by a large number of people from across walks of life.

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