Bilateral Relations


Historical linkages :

  • Historical linkages between India and Ethiopia go back about 2,000 years of recorded history.  Trade between the two countries flourished during the ancient Axumite Empire (1stcentury AD), which is seen to be origin of modern Ethiopia.  Indian traders trade silk and spices for gold and ivory through the ancient port of Adulis in the 6th Century AD.  In the 16th century AD, the Portuguese assisted the Christian King in Ethiopia to repel Muslim invaders, and with them came Indians from Goa. In 1868, General Robert Napier led a punitive expedition to obtain the release of European diplomats and missionaries who had been imprisoned by Emperor Tewodros II in his bunker fort at Makdala.   The 30,000 strong force had 13,000 soldiers from India, mostly Sikhs.  The British Army that ended the Italian occupation of Ethiopia (1936-41) also had a sizeable contingent of Indian soldiers.  General William Plat, who led one of the three simultaneous attacks, commanded a force consisting of the 4th and 5th Indian Divisions.
  • Soon after achieving independence, a goodwill mission led by Sardar Sant Singh was sent to Ethiopia.  Diplomatic relations at legation level were established in 1948. Full diplomatic relations were established in 1950 with Sardar Sant Singh as the first Ambassador.
  • India’s relations with Ethiopia have been traditionally close and friendly.  Ethiopia has been appreciative of the fact that India has never been hostile to Ethiopia’s interests.   Ethiopia had been consistent in her support for India in the international fora on various issues.  There is a positive alignment of views on cross-border terrorism and other issues sensitive to India viz. expansion of UNSC, Kashmir issue etc.

Bilateral visits

  • President Shri Ram Nath Kovind paid a State Visit to Ethiopia (Oct 2017) and held talks with Ethiopian President and Prime Minister. Other high level visits included President S. Radhakrishnan (1965), Vice President Zakir Hussain (1967), President V.V. Giri (1972), PM Manmohan Singh (2011) and Vice President Hamid Ali Ansari (May 2013).
  • High level visits from Ethiopia included those of Emperor Haile Selassie (1956 & 1968), Col. Hailemariam Mengistu (1983 and 1985), PM Meles Zenawi (1997, 2007, 2008 & 2011) and PM Hailemariam Desalegn (2015).
  • Recent ministerial visits from India included those by External Affairs Minister (2007, 2011), Commerce Minister (2011), MOS for External Affairs (2011, 2012), MOS for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution (2011), MoS for Finance (2015) and MOS for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (2018). From Ethiopia, visits were made by Special Envoy of PM & former President Dr. Mulatu Teshome (Nov 2019), Minister of Water, Irrigation & Electricity for the Founding Conference of the International Solar Alliance (March 2018).

Bilateral Agreements

  • Air Services Agreement (1967); 4 MoUs signed subsequently in 1972, 1993, 2004 and 2008.
  • Agreement on Technical, Economic and Scientific Cooperation (1969)
  • Cultural Agreement (1983)
  • Trade Agreement (1997)
  • Agreement on Cooperation in Micro Dams and Small Scale Irrigation Schemes (2002)
  • Agreement on Establishment of Joint Ministerial Commission (2007)
  • Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (2007)
  • Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Science and Technology (2007)
  • Educational Exchange Programme (2007)
  • Protocol on Foreign Office Consultations (2007)
  • Double Taxation avoidance treaty (2011)
  • MOU between NSIC, India and FEMSEDA (2011)
  • MOU between ICAR and Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (2011)
  • Trade Agreement (2017)
  • Agreement for Cooperation in the field of Information, Communication and Media (2017)

Lines of Credit

  • Ethiopia is the largest recipient of long term concessional credit from India in Africa. The ongoing GoI assistance in developmental projects in Ethiopia has continued with sanctioned Lines of Credit worth more than USD1 billion to Ethiopia for sectors such as rural electrification, sugar industry and railways.
  • Out of the three Sugar Factory projects being undertaken through LoC funding of USD 640 million, Finchaa Sugar Factory has already been completed and handed over to the Ethiopian side.  The other two, Wonji Shoa and Tendaho Phase-I have commenced production and would be handed over to the Ethiopian side after the completion of some balance works.
  • More requests from Ethiopian Government for LoC funding in projects related to power transmission, wind energy, road construction, etc. are under consideration of the GoI. Recently, concessional Lines of Credit of USD 147 Million for 400 KV power transmission line to industrial park project in Mek’ele project in Ethiopia and of USD 133.70 million for construction of second power interconnection line between Ethiopia and Djibouti were approved and conveyed to Government of Ethiopia.


  • India donated a 64-Slice CT Scan Machine to Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa as part of our Grant Assistance.
  • Handing over ceremony of 1000 MT of rice announced as a donation during the visit of Rashtrapatiji to Ethiopia (July 2018).
  • India gifted medicines worth USD 2 million (Nov 2019).
  • Embassy of India in collaboration with Bhagwan Mahavir Viklang Sahayata Samiti organised an Artificial Limb Fitment Camp (Jaipur Foot) in Nov/Dec 2019 under GOI’s “India for Humanity” Project at St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College, Addis Ababa.  During the camp, 538 limbs were fitted to beneficiaries.
  • The flagship Pan African e-network Project, an Initiative of Govt. of India aimed at sharing India’s expertise in the fields of Healthcare and Education with member countries of the African Union Commission, was launched in Addis Ababa in July 2007. Tele-Education and Tele-Medicine services were being offered till recently at Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa and in Addis Ababa University and were well-received.The Tele-Education project has been replicated by the Ethiopian side and linkages established between the Addis Ababa University and the Indian Institutes of Technology at Delhi and Kanpur. Phase II of the project in the form of eVBAB has been launched recently.

Cooperation in Capacity Building

  • The Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme was started in Ethiopia in 1969.  ITEC slots have increased over the years reaching 400 (2018-19) and 406 (2019-20). Training is one of the major activities under ITEC.
  • The Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) offers scholarships to students from African countries every year for Undergraduate and Postgraduate studies in India. Presently, Ethiopia is being offered 55 slots for Undergraduate, Postgraduate and PhD courses for 2019-20.
  • The Central Leather Research Institute and the Footwear Design and Development Institute from India are cooperating with Ethiopian Leather Development Institute.  The Ethiopian Textile Industry Development Institute and the National Institute of Fashion Technology of India have launched twinning partnership scheme. A twinning arrangement has also been entered into between Ethiopia’s Textile Industry Development Institute and Mumbai’s Institute for Chemical Technology.
  • Council of Scientific Research and Industrial Research of India and Metal Industries Development Institute of Ethiopia have a twinning agreement. The Agreement provides for training and capacity building of sciences and technology manpower in order to transform the metal and engineering sector in Ethiopia.

Cultural Cooperation

  • Mission has been celebrating the International Day of Yoga in Addis Ababa. Mission participated in the 12th Ethiopian International Film Festival (Dec 2017)with screening of three Amharic-subtitled Hindi films.  Mission also participated in the Asia Pacific Film Festival (Sept 2018) organized by 12 Embassies from Asia Pacific countries.  Hindi movie “Poorna: Courage has no limit” was screened during this film festival. In 2018, Mission brought out a publication to celebrate 70 years of diplomatic relations between India and Ethiopia. A photo exhibition with rare and historic photos displaying 70 years of relations between India and Ethiopia was also organized. A heritage walk was organized on the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. ICCR sponsored TANVA CREATIVE DANCE ENSEMBLE dance group performed in Ethiopia (Feb 2019).
  • Meskerem Assegued, a renowned art critic in Ethiopia and Director, Zoma Contemporary Art Centre, Addis Ababa visited India under ICCR’s Academic Visitor’s Programme (Feb/March 2015). Ms. Zenebu Tadesse Woldetsadik, Ethiopian Minister of Women, Child & Youth Welfare was selected by ICCR in 2015 for the Distinguished Alumni Award for her outstanding contribution towards bilateral relations between India and Ethiopia in the field of promotion of welfare of women, children and youth in Ethiopia. Dr. Negeri Lencho, Minister of Government Communication Affairs visited India (March 2017) under ICCR’s Distinguished Visitor’s Programme. Ethiopian traditional dance troupe YeTemesgen Lijoch, was sent to India in October 2015 for performance during IAFS-III. An Ethiopian cultural troupe performed in India during the Africa Day Celebrations in Delhi (May 2017).   Ethiopian National Theatre Traditional Band gave performances in New Delhi, Bhubaneswar and Goa (May 2018).

Indian Community

  • The early settlers among the Indian community in Ethiopia came from Gujarat in the latter years of the 19th century.  During imperial times, there were also tens of thousands of Indian teachers in schools all over Ethiopia, even in the most remote parts.
  • Today, the Indian community has a sizeable presence in the educational sector of Ethiopia. There are an estimated 2000-2500 Indian Lecturers/Professors in about 30 Universities and higher educational institutions.
  • The Indian Diaspora in Ethiopia is estimated to be between 5000-6000.
  • There are a number of Indian companies in this country. There are also several Ethiopian companies who engage Indian workers.

September 2020


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