Bahrain pardons 250 Indian prisoners soon after Modi's visit

Bahrain pardons 250 Indian prisoners soon after Modi's visit
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Bahraini Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa at Manama, Bahrain, on Saturday. PTI

Manama: In a humanitarian gesture, the Bahrain government pardoned 250 Indians serving sentences in the Gulf nation during the maiden visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"In a kind and humanitarian gesture, the Government of Bahrain has pardoned 250 Indians serving sentences in Bahrain," the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) tweeted.

The prime minister expressed his gratitude to the Bahrain leadership for the Royal pardon. He also specially thanked the King of Bahrain and the entire Royal Family for their kindness and the compassionate decision.

According to an official data, 8,189 Indians are lodged in various prisons in foreign countries, with Saudi Arabia having the highest number at 1,811 followed by the UAE at 1,392. It was not clear how many Indians are lodged in jails in the Gulf kingdom.

During his two-day visit to Bahrain, the first by an Indian prime minister, Modi held bilateral meetings with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and prince and Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa.

The two sides exchanged views on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest during the meetings, according to a joint statement.

Against terrorism

In a veiled attack on Pakistan, India and Bahrain on Sunday called on the international community to reject the use of terrorism against other countries as both sides agreed to further enhance cooperation in the field of security and counter-terrorism.

India has been pressing Pakistan to end its state policy of backing cross-border terrorism and its support to terror groups on its soil.

The two countries also discussed ways and means to further promote cooperation in cyber security, including prevention of use of cyber space for terrorism, radicalisation and for disturbing social harmony.

The leaders also noted the "need for concerted action by the international community against terrorism" and "underlined the importance of comprehensive sanctioning of terrorists and their organisations by the UN".

They also said that regional connectivity projects should be based on international law, including respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, in an apparent reference to China's push for its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

On Trade

During the meetings, the two sides also noted the increasing trend of bilateral trade and existing potential for two-way investments and reaffirmed their desire to provide favourable environments for trade and investments.

The two countries agreed to focus on enhancing cooperation in energy, covering the areas of joint exploration and training of human resources.

The two leaders agreed to enhance cooperation to strengthen maritime security in the Gulf region, vital for the security and safety of sea lanes, and also underlined the importance of enhancing high-level political exchanges, defence and higher education cooperation, trade and economic relations and people-to-people linkages.

An MoU was also signed between BENEFIT, a Bahrain company handling ATM and POS transactions among others, and National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) for launch of RuPay card in the Gulf Kingdom, it said.

India also welcomed the interest of Bahrain to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA), recognising the importance of it as international intergovernmental organisation, which has become an effective platform to facilitate the deployment of solar energy.

The two countries also signed MoUs on cultural exchange programme, space technology, solar energy, the statement said.

During the official meetings, the two sides also underlined their close bilateral ties, deep-rooted in shared history and cultural affinities, sustained and nourished through growing economic linkages and close people-to-people contacts.

(With inputs from PTI)

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