Nepal and the Kingdom of Bahrain established their diplomatic relations on 13 January 1977. The relations between the two countries have always remained cordial and friendly. Mutual trust, respect, understanding and cooperation form the strong basis of our bilateral relations. Prior to the opening up of residential embassy in Bahrain, the Embassy of Nepal in Riyadh was concurrently accredited to Bahrain. Similarly, Bahraini Ambassador resident in New Delhi is concurrently accredited to Nepal.
The Government of Nepal opened its embassy in Manama, Bahrain on 1 September 2013. Foreign Secretary of Nepal Arjun Bahadur Thapa and his Bahraini counterpart Karim Ebrahim Al-Shaker jointly inaugurated the Embassy at its premises in Juffair, Manama on 19 December 2013. The establishment of the new embassy has unlocked new potentials of cooperation between the two countries in the areas of tourism, trade and investment, as well as in further expanding employment opportunities for Nepali nationals in Bahrain.
Nepal and Bahrain share similar views on several global agenda and issues. Both countries are the members of the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), G-77 and China, and many other international forums. They have been working together and also playing an active role in these forums for the promotion of international peace and security, collective progress, prosperity and wellbeing of global citizens.
Exchange of visits and interactions from time to time and at different levels between the leaders from both countries have contributed to foster goodwill and understanding between the two countries. This will also provide great opportunities for both countries to broaden and deepen their bonds of friendship and ties that have been subsisting so happily for several years. Late King Birendra and queen Aishworya paid visit to Bahrain in 1979. The then Crown Prince Dipendra also visited Bahrain in 1997. Dr. Majeed Bin Muhsin Al Alawi, Minister of Labour for the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain made a trip to Nepal in order to conclude Labour Agreement between the two countries on 29 April 2008.
Since both countries are endowed with abundant natural resources, there exists tremendous scope for promoting further cooperation between the two countries in the fields of investment, trade, tourism and human resource utilization. Nepal could a destination country for tourism, trade and investment opportunity for Bahraini nationals. Both Nepal and Bahrain should further strengthen their economic ties in the domain of having their competitive strength.
Virtually there is no investment in Nepal from Bahraini nationals. However, Nepal could become a destination of choice for them for investment opportunity in Nepal. Nepal has adopted liberal economic policies since the early 1990s. Those policies are in need of timely amendment in the context of rapid pace of globalization and regionalism. The Government of Nepal is in the process of making timely adjustment in various rules and regulations relating to business and investment climate in order to ensure an investment-friendly environment in the country and accelerate the momentum of economic transformation. Necessary changes are, therefore, being made in the foreign direct investment policies, procedures, laws and regulations. There are no legal and practical barriers to repatriate investment proceeds.
The trade between Nepal and Bahrain remains quite insignificant. In 2013, total amount of Nepalese exports to Bahrain stood at NRs. 1,080,776. The export articles were textile articles, carpet, and other textile floor coverings, printed books, newspaper, etc. In the same year, total amount of imports from Bahrain remained at NRs. 70,573,585. The import articles consisted of mineral fuels oils, copper articles, aluminum articles, dairy products and confectionary items, etc. The terms of trade is, however, in favour of the Kingdom of Bahrain. Nepal should, therefore, explore the possibilities of expanding trade and reduce trade deficit by enhancing exports to Bahrain and, to this end, mutual exchange and interaction of business delegations from both countries can be organized.
Tourism is an important area where both countries need to cooperate for mutual benefit. So far, there is a small inflow of Bahraini nationals and expatriates to Nepal. Nepal could provide best alternative ambience for Bahraini tourists to spend their holidays away from the bustle of modernity. There is indeed a great potential for attracting Bahraini tourists through dissemination and publicity of natural beauty, culture and hospitable Nepalese people.
On 29 April 2008, Nepal -Bahrain signed an MoU to allow Gulf Air–the national carrier of Bahrain– to make 14 flights each week from Nepal-Bahrain-Nepal. The Gulf Air has stopped its operations from 27 March 2013 for commercial reasons. There is a clear need to resume its flights. The resumption of Gulf Air flights between Manama and Kathmandu would boost tourism, trade and people-to-people contacts between the two countries.
As part of economic diplomacy, the Government of Nepal has adopted the policy of sending Nepali nationals for overseas employment with honor and dignity. Pursuant to this policy, Nepali people are increasingly going abroad for employment purposes. Bahrain has become one of the most preferred destinations for employment opportunities for Nepali workers. The flow of Nepali people to Bahrain is increasing year by year. It is estimated that Bahrain has been currently employing around 35,000 Nepali workers.
Dedication to work, loyalty, sincerity and integrity are some attributes of Nepalese workers that have enabled them to earn the trust and goodwill of the people and the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain. The prospect of employment in Bahrain is ever growing following the massive construction of infrastructures and real estates and their modernization in Bahrain. An Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the areas of Labour and occupational training has been signed between the countries on 29 April 2008.