Know India’s foreign policy – Part VII

Germany

GermanyIndia

Arrival of the first Indian student to Dresden, East Germany, in 1951

During the Cold War India maintained diplomatic relations with both West Germany and East Germany. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the reunification of Germany, relations have further improved. The German ambassador to India, Bernd Mutzelburg, once said that India and Germany, are not just ‘natural partners’, but important countries in a globalised world. Germany is India’s largest trade partner in Europe. German Chancellor Angela Merkelvisited India recently, as did the then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singhvisit Germany. Both countries have been working towards gaining permanent seats in the United Nations Security Council. As both countries are strong liberal democracies, they have similar objectives. UN reforms, fighting terrorism and climate change, and promotion of science, education, technology, and human rights, are some areas of shared interests, and collaboration between these two countries. Culturally too, Indian and German writers and philosophers, have influenced each other.[253] Recently, Germany has invested in developing education and skills amongst rural Indians. Also of note, during World War II an Indian division known as the Tiger Legion was attached to the GermanWehrmacht.

Greece

GreeceIndia

In modern time, diplomatic relations between Greece and India were established in May 1950. The new Greek Embassy building in New Delhi was inaugurated on 6 February 2001.[citation needed]

Economically, India is one of Greece’s largest debt creditors with Greece owing the Reserve Bank of India and The State Bank of India over €40 billion.[citation needed]

Norway

NorwayIndia

In 2012, Trond Giske met with Minister of Finance Pranab Mukherjee, to save[254] Telenor‘s investments to put forth Norway’s “strong wish” that there must not be a waiting period between the confiscation of telecom licences and the re-sale of those.[255] The leader ofTelenor attended the meeting.

Spain

SpainIndia

Diplomatic ties with Spain started in 1956.[256] The first Spanish embassy was established in Delhi in 1958. India and Spain have had cordial relationship with each other especially after the establishment of democracy in Spain in 1978. Spain has been a main tourist spot for Indians over the years. Many presidents including Prathibha Patil visited Spain. The royal family of Spain have always liked the humble nature of the Indian government and they have thus paid several visits to India. There was no direct flight from India to Spain but it all changed in 1986 when Iberain travels started to fly directly from Mumbai to Madrid. However, it was stopped in 22 months. In 2006 this issue of direct flight was reconsidered so as to improve the ties between India and Spain. “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara” was shot completely in Spain in 2011. The tourism ministry of Spain are using this movie to promote tourism to Spain in India.

Turkey

TurkeyIndia

Due to controversial issues such as Turkey’s close relationship with Pakistan, relations between the two countries have often been blistered at certain times, but better at others. India and Turkey’s relationship alters from unsureness to collaboration when the two nations work together to combat terrorism in Central and South Asia, and the Middle East. India and Turkey are also connected by history, seeing as they have known each other since the days of the Ottoman Empire, and seeing as India was one of the countries to send aid to Turkey following its war of independence. The Indian real estate firm GMR, has invested in and is working towards the modernisation of Istanbul‘sSabiha Gökçen International Airport.

Austria

AustriaIndia

Austria–India relations refers to the bilateral ties between Austria and India. Indo-Austrian relations were established in May 1949 by the first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru and theChancellor of Austria Leopold Figl.[257]Historically, Indo-Austrian ties have been particularly strong and India intervened in June 1953 in Austria’s favour whilst negotiations were going on with Soviet Union about the Austrian State Treaty.[258] There is a fully functioning Indian embassy in Vienna, Austria’s capital, which is concurrently accredited to the United Nations offices in the city.[259] Austria is represented in India by its embassy and Trade commission in New Delhi, India’s capital, as well as Honorary Consulates in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Goa.[260]

Other European countries

More information: Country, Formal relations began …

West Asia

Arab states of the Persian Gulf

Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the GulfIndia

India and the Arab states of the Persian Gulf enjoy strong cultural and economic ties. This is reflected in the fact that more than 50% of the oil consumed by India comes from the Persian Gulf countries[308] and Indian nationals form the largest expatriate community in the Arabian peninsula.[309] The annual remittance by Indian expatriates in the region amounted to US$20 billion in 2007.[310][311] India is one of the largest trading partners of the CCASG with non-oil trade between India and Dubai alone amounting to US$19 billion in 2007.[312]The Persian Gulf countries have also played an important role in addressing India’s energy security concerns, with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait regularly increasing their oil supply to India to meet the country’s rising energy demand. In 2005, Kuwait increased its oil exports to India by 10% increasing the net oil trade between the two to US$4.5 billion.[313] In 2008, Qatar decided to invest US$5 billion in India’s energy sector.[314]

India has maritime security arrangement in place with Oman and Qatar.[315] In 2008, a landmark defence pact was signed, under which India committed its military assets to protect “Qatar from external threats”.[316] There has been progress in a proposed deep-sea gas pipeline from Qatar, via Oman, to India.[317]

Bahrain

BahrainIndia

India is a close ally of Bahrain, the Kingdom along with its GCC partners are (according to Indian officials) among the most prominent backers of India’s bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council,[318] and Bahraini officials have urged India to play a greater role in international affairs. For instance, over concerns about Iran’s nuclear programme Bahrain’s Crown Prince appealed to India to play an active role in resolving the crisis.[319]

Ties between India and Bahrain go back generations, with many of Bahrain’s most prominent figures having close connections: poet and constitutionalistEbrahim Al-Arrayedh grew up in Bombay, while 17th century Bahraini theologians Sheikh Salih Al-Karzakaniand Sheikh Ja’far bin Kamal al-Din were influential figures in the Kingdom ofGolkonda[320] and the development of Shia thought in the sub-continent.

Bahraini politicians have sought to enhance these long standing ties, with Parliamentary Speaker Khalifa Al Dhahrani in 2007 leading a delegation of parliamentarians and business leaders to meet the then Indian PresidentPratibha Patil, the then opposition leaderL K Advani, and take part in training and media interviews.[321] Politically, it is easier for Bahrain’s politicians to seek training and advice from India than it is from the United States or other western alternative.

Adding further strength to the ties,Sheikh Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa visited India during which MOU’s and bilateral deals worth $450 million were approved.[322] India expressed its support for Bahrain’s bid for a non-permanent seat in the Security council in 2026-27.[323]

Egypt

EgyptIndia

Modern Egypt-India relations go back to the contacts between Saad Zaghloul andMohandas Gandhi on the common goals of their respective movements of independence.[324] In 1955, Egypt underGamal Abdul Nasser and India underJawaharlal Nehru became the founders of the Non-Aligned Movement. During the 1956 War, Nehru stood supporting Egypt to the point of threatening to withdraw his country from theCommonwealth of Nations. In 1967, following the Arab-Israeli war, India supported Egypt and the Arabs. In 1977, New Delhi described the visit of President Anwar al-Sadat to Jerusalem as a “brave” move and considered the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel a primary step on the path of a just settlement of the Middle East problem. Major Egyptian exports to India include raw cotton, raw and manufactured fertilisers, oil and oil products, organic and non-organic chemicals, leather and iron products. Major imports into Egypt from India are cotton yarn, sesame, coffee, herbs, tobacco, lentils, pharmaceutical products and transport equipment. The Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum is also currently negotiating the establishment of a natural gas-operated fertiliser plant with another Indian company. In 2004 the Gas Authority of India Limited, bought 15% of Egypt Nat Gas distribution and marketing company. In 2008 Egyptian investment in India was worth some 750 million dollars, according to the Egyptian ambassador.[325] After Arab Spring of 2011, with ousting of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt has asked for help of India in conducting nationwide elections

Iran

Main article: India–Iran relations

IranIndia

Seen here is Rabindranath Tagore as a guest of Iran’s parliament in the 1930s.

Independent India and Iran established diplomatic links on 15 March 1950.[326]After the Iranian Revolution of 1979, Iran withdrew from CENTO and dissociated itself from U.S.-friendly countries, including Pakistan, which automatically meant improved relationship with the Republic of India.

Currently, the two countries have friendly relations in many areas. There are significant trade ties, particularly in crude oil imports into India and diesel exports to Iran. Iran frequently objected to Pakistan’s attempts to draft anti-India resolutions at international organisations such as the OIC. India welcomed Iran’s inclusion as an observer state in the SAARC regional organisation. Lucknow continues to be a major centre of Shiite culture and Persian study in the subcontinent.

In the 1990s, India and Iran both supported the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan against the Taliban regime. They continue to collaborate in supporting the broad-based anti-Taliban government led by Hamid Karzai and backed by the United States.

However, one complex issue in Indo-Iran relations is the issue of Iran’s nuclear programme. In this intricate issue, India tries to make a delicate balance. According to Rejaul Laskar, an Indian expert on international relations, “India’s position on Iran’s nuclear programme has been consistent, principled and balanced, and makes an endeavour to reconcile Iran’s quest for energy security with the international community’s concerns on proliferation. So, while India acknowledges and supports Iran’s ambitions to achieve energy security and in particular, its quest for peaceful use of nuclear energy, it is also India’s principled position that Iran must meet all its obligations under the international law, particularly its obligations under the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and other such treaties to which it is a signatory”[327]

Following an attack on an Israeli diplomat in India in February 2012, theDelhi Police contended that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps had some involvement in the attack. This was subsequently confirmed in July 2012, after a report by the Delhi Police found evidence that members of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps had been involved in the 13 February bomb attack in the capital.[328]

Iraq

Main article: India–Iraq relations

IraqIndia

Iraq was one of the few countries in the Middle East with which India established diplomatic relations at the embassy level immediately after its independencein 1947.[329] Both nations signed the “Treaty of Perpetual Peace and Friendship” in 1952 and an agreement of cooperation on cultural affairs in 1954.[329] India was amongst the first to recognise the Baath Party-led government, and Iraq remained neutral during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. However, Iraq sided alongside other Persian Gulf states in supporting Pakistan against India during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, which saw the creation of Bangladesh.[329] The eight-year-long Iran–Iraq War caused a steep decline in trade and commerce between the two nations.[329]

During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, India remained neutral but permitted refueling for US aircraft.[329] It opposed UN sanctions on Iraq, but the period of war and Iraq’s isolation further diminished India’s commercial and diplomatic ties.[329] From 1999 onwards, Iraq and India began to work towards a stronger relationship. Iraq had supported India’s right to conduct nuclear tests following its tests of five nuclear weapons on 11 and 13 May 1998.[329] In 2000, the then-Vice President of Iraq Taha Yassin Ramadan visited India, and on 6 August 2002 President Saddam Hussein conveyed Iraq’s “unwavering support” to India over the Kashmir dispute with Pakistan.[329][330] India and Iraq established joint ministerial committees and trade delegations to promote extensive bilateral cooperation.[144][331]Although initially disrupted during the2003 invasion of Iraq, diplomatic and commercial ties between India and the new democratic government of Iraq have since been normalised.[331]

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