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Bahrain seeks to boost trade with India during King' first visit

Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has arrived in New Delhi on Tuesday on a three-day state visit at the head of a high-level official delegation seeking to boost bilateral ties during his first visit to India.

King Hamad, who is visiting India at the invitation of President Pranab Mukherjee, was received at the airport by Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed.

The king will hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday, during which some agreements, including one on avoidance of double taxation, are likely to be signed.

According to the Bahrain News Agency, the royal visit will explore various aspects of the growing "solid historic economic, political, cultural and mercantile bilateral cooperation relations between the two friendly countries as well as current and latest regional and international developments of mutual interest".

India and Bahrain have close and friendly relations, characterised by shared interests, mutual trust and unique people-to-people contacts. Bahrain is an important trading partner for India with non-oil bilateral trade in 2012-13 exceeding USD 1.3 billion.

Over 350,000 Indian nationals work in Bahrain.

"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-third of India's crude oil requirements and is the largest trading region for us accounting for over 26 percent of our global trade," according to an external affairs ministry statement.