Bilateral Relations India-Colombia

Brief on India-Colombia Relations

The resident Indian mission in Bogotá was established in February 1973. The Mission was closed in January 1993, but reopened in October 1994, as Colombia was to host the XIth NAM Summit. 2009 marked 50 years of diplomatic relations between India and Colombia. India has an Honorary Consulate in the city of Medellin and Barranquilla.

Political Relations: India and Colombia have friendly and cordial bilateral relations. Both countries have considerable coincidence of views on global issues and have closely collaborated in various multilateral fora.

Important Bilateral Visits:

From India: The following high level visits have taken place from India to Colombia:

  1. Visit of Late Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi in 1968.
  2. Late Prime Minister Shri Narasimha Rao visited to participate in the XI NAM Summit in October 1995
  3. Shri Rao Inderjit Singh, MOS (EA) in September, 2004
  4. Shri Shashi Tharoor, MOS (ST) visited in January 18-20, 2010
  5. Prof. Saugata Roy, MOS for Urban Development in 2010
  6. Shri Dinsha Patel, MOS for Mines in May 2011
  7. Shri Vivek Katju, Secretary (West) in July, 2011(FOC)
  8. Dr. Rahul Khullar, Commerce Secretary in Aug. /Sept. 2011
  9. Shri Sachin Pilot, MOS (C &IT) in April, 2012
  10. Shri Jyotiraditya Scindia MOS (C&I) in June, 2012
  11. Shri Parvez Dewan, Secretary (Tourism) in October ,2014
  12. Shri R. Swaminathan, Special Secretary (AMS&CPV) in November, 2014 (FOC)
  13. Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, MOS (IC)(P&NG) in May 2015.

From Colombia to India:

  1. Foreign Minister of Colombia, Dr Rodrigo Pardo Garcia-Pena, April 1997 for the NAM Ministerial Meeting.
  2. President Andres Pastrana Arango, March 2001 for the first ever state visit from Colombia.
  3. Foreign Minister Carolina Barco Isakon in February 2003.
  4. Vice Minister Camilo Reyes visited New Delhi in May 2004.
  5. The Colombian Defence Minister, Mr. Juan Manuel Santos, in November 2007.
  6. The Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Mr. Luis Guillermo Plata in April 2008.
  7. Minister of Energy and Mines, Mr Hernan Martinez Torres, September 2008.
  8. General Fernando Soler Torre, Deputy Chief of Colombian Air Force attended the Aero India in February 2009.
  9. Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, Ambassador Clemencia Forero Ucros, in April, 2009.
  10. Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez accompanied by Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister in November 2009.
  11. Vice President Francisco Santos in April 2010.
  12. Vice Foreign Minister Monica Lanzetta in November 2011
  13. Vice Foreign Minister Patti Londono in March 2012.
  14. Vice Minister of Business Development, Carlos de Hart on 11-12 February, 2013.
  15. Mr.Diego Molano, Minister of Information Technology (IT) of Colombia from 17-24 August 2013.

Bilateral Treaties and Agreements:

Economic & Commercial

  • Trade Agreement, 1970
  • MoU on Cooperation in the field of Information Technology, 2002.
  • MoU on Hydrocarbons, 2008.
  • Bilateral Investment Promotion & Protection Agreement (BIPPA) signed in November, 2009. The agreement entered into force from July 2012.
  • MoU for cooperation in the IT sector between National Association of Industries of Colombia (ANDI) and NASSCOM, 2009.
  • MoU on Business Development Cooperation, 2010.
  • Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement, 2011. It has entered into law wef. 7 July, 2014.
  • MOU for cooperation in IT Sector between NASSCOM and FEDESOFT in May 2013.

Ministry of External Affairs(MEA) & Foreign Ministry

  • MoU on Annual Foreign Office Consultations, 1995
  • Agreement for non-requirement of Visas for Diplomatic and Official Passport holders, 2001.
  • Agreement for facilitation of Visas to Businessmen, 2001.
  • Agreement for Cooperation between Diplomatic Academies, 2001.

Other Ministries

  • MoU on Cooperation in Science & Technology, 2005.
  • MoU on Cooperation in Urban Development, 2007.
  • MoU on Defence Cooperation, 2009.
  • MoU on Cooperation in the Bamboo sector, 2009.
  • Agreement for Cooperation in Health, 2010.
  • MoU for Cooperation in the field of Geology and Mineral Reforms, 2011.
  • MoU on Sports, 2014.
  • Cultural Agreement 1974
  • Cultural Exchange Programme for 2012-2016.

Commercial and Economic Relations:

The Commercial and Economic relations have burgeoned in the recent years. Last two years have also seen the export and import baskets getting more varied. Indian imports include Mineral fuel, minerals oils, Natural or Cultivated Pearls, Wood and Steel articles of wood and Cocoa. Indian exports include Motorcycles in CKD form, Vehicles other than railways, Cotton yarn and woven fabrics of cotton, Organic chemicals and Iron & Steels. The trade figures for the last few years are given in the table below:

S.No

Year

Import to India (million USD)

Export by India (million USD)

Total Trade (million USD)

1

2014

2685.57

1297.36

3982.93

2

January-September 2015

415.37

909.72

1325.09

There has been a fall in the Colombian imports to India owing to the fall of oil exports. India-Colombia business organizations have been interacting on regular basis and a number of business delegations led by export promotions councils such as EEPC, EPCH, TEXPROCIL, SRPTC, CHEMEXIL, PLEXCONCIL, Spice Board of India, Electronic and Software Council, CAPEXIL and AEPC and Chambers of Commerce like CII have visited Colombia in the last 5 years. To promote bilateral business interest, a ‘Colombia-India Chamber of Commerce’ was formed in Bogota in September 2008 with the support of the Embassy.

2015 saw following delegations visiting Colombia, even as the balance in trade was in the favour of India due to drastic fall in the oil prices. Some of the major visits were as below:

  1. 25-member TEXPROCIL delegation participated at the Colombian textile fair, Colombiatex in January.
  2. A 12 member delegation from Capexil the Chemical & Allied Products Export Council visited Bogota for a 2-day BSM in Bogota in February.
  3. Synthetic & Rayon Textiles Export Promotion Council (SRTEPC) participated in 2-day BSM in March.
  4. 15 companies from Automobile Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) participated in BSM held on 26th October, 2015.
  5. CHEMEXCIL, a buyer seller meet for chemical industry from Colombia and India was organized in Bogota on 2-3 December. 45 companies from India and more than 100 importers from Colombia participated in the event.
  6. EPCH, the Export promotion council for handicrafts participated in the Annual Artisan Fair at ‘Corferias’ exhibition grounds from 4-17 December.
  7. Six tour operators took part for the second time in the biggest tourism fair of Colombia, ANATO, held in February.
  8. Under the “Make in India” initiative the Embassy held an event involving business community, media and the authorities of Atlantic region in Barranquilla on March 19.

Indian Companies in Colombia:

Many Indian Companies have established operations in Colombia. Some of the known companies which are present in Colombia are:

  • IT (TCS, Tech Mahindra etc )
  • Pharmaceuticals (IPCA, CIPLA, Aurbindo Pharma, Dr. Reddy´s)
  • Agro-Chemicals (United Phosphorus, Shraddha Chemicals),
  • Automobiles and tractors (TVS, Bajaj, Hero, Sonalika and Mahindra),
  • Mining (Renuka energy).

In oil exploration, ONGC Videsh has on-going exploration and production operations in Colombia. It´s joint venture with Chinese company SINOPEC called Mansarovar Energy owns a producing asset which produces around 40,000 barrels per day.

Praj industries have constructed 6 ethanol plants in Colombia with capacity of 1.05 million liters per day. It is constructing its 7th plant currently. Hero Moto Corp. inaugurated its motorcycle plant in Cali in September 2015. The plant which will have investment of US$ 70 million will be producing 78,000 motorcycles initially and will lead to direct & indirect employment of 2500 persons.

Technical and Economic Cooperation:

The number of ITEC slots for Colombia has been increased from 25 in 2009-2010 to 40 in 2015-2016. A group of 24 English teachers went for ITEC scholarship to EFL University, Hyderabad in 2015. Assistance under ITEC program included donation of a US$ 200,000 solar energy plant to Colombia in December 2002 and deputation of two Indian IT experts from May to July 2002 to advise the local government on IT related policy issues. India donated US$ 1 million to Colombia in the wake of country-wide floods and damage to infrastructure in 2010.

ICCR Scholarships:

ICCR has allotted two slots under its General Cultural Scholarship Scheme for Colombia and two Colombian students pursued Odissi and Kathak dance programmes during 2008-11 and 2009-12. Two other dancers are currently attending Kathak and Odissi dance courses under ICCR scholarship programme for 2012-13. The Mission is organizing free kathak dance classes sponsored by ICCR.

Culture & Indian Community:

The Cultural Exchange Program for 2012-2016 was signed in March 2012. There have been several festivals, performances, exhibitions and film shows, etc. organized by the Embassy of India. Embassy in collaboration with the local talent regularly organizes dance performances at various universities during the course of the International Weeks held by them.

The Bust of Mahatma Gandhi was installed in the city of Medellin on 21 May, 2013. Gandhi Jayanti was celebrated in Bogota with the collaboration of local authorities. A weeklong event dedicated to non-violence was organized in Medellin and are in collaboration with the Gandhi Peace Foundation.

The Embassy, in association with local Indian community and Friends of India, observed the festivals of Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali and Holi during the last year.

154th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore was celebrated on 07 May, 2015 by the Institute of Caro y Cuervo of Colombia. His bust was installed on the occasion of 150 years of his birth in 2012.

A bust of Mahatma Gandhi, donated by ICCR was also installed at the Colombia-India Cultural Centre, run by CINSET in July 2015.

The Indian Community comprises of approximately 250 members, majority of them being professionals. There are two India – Colombia Friendship Associations in Colombia. They are Association of Friends of India-Colombia (Amigos de India) registered in January 2010 and We are India (SOMOS India) founded in 2014.

International Yoga Day was organized in Colombia on 21st June, 2015. In Colombia, the celebrations were organized in Bogota, Medellin, Barranquilla, Cali and Pasto. In the first three places, the event was organized with the support of local authorities, yoga institutes, Indian community and the Friends of India associations. In the other two places, it was organized by private yoga institutes. Around 2,000 people participated in the celebrations. Mission also organized free weekly Yoga Classes for the Colombian nationals in evening hours after the successful organization of Yoga Day.

Colombian visitors to India:

Around 3200 Colombians visit India each year many of them for yoga, meditation, spiritual courses etc. The facility of e-Tourist Visa has been extended to Colombia.

Useful References:

www.embajadaindia.org

http://www.embajadaindia.org/en/useful-links/in-colombia

https://www.facebook.com/EmbajadaIndiaBogota

https://twitter.com/IndiaEmbBogota

Additional information