Last Updated on December 1, 2023
INDIA – ETHIOPIA BILATERAL RELATIONS
- 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 (1 Century 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 6 Century AD. In the 16 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 4 and 5 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 Ethiopia relations have been traditionally close and friendly. Ethiopia has been appreciative of the fact that India has never been hostile to Ethiopian interests. Ethiopia has been consistent in their support for India in the international fora on various issues.
Meeting of Prime Ministers (24 August 2023)
- Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi met Ethiopian PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Johannesburg.
- The leaders agreed to deepen relations and discussed ways to expand bilateral cooperation in areas like parliamentary contacts, development partnership & capacity building, trade & investment, defence, ICT, agriculture, skilling of youth and people to people linkages.
Visit of Indian External Affairs Minister to Ethiopia (13 April 2023)
- External Affairs Minister of India visited Addis Ababa and met Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister & Foreign Minister.
- They discussed bilateral relations, developments in the region and shared views on our strong multilateral cooperation including in the African Union and United Nations.
Ethiopian Parliamentary delegation to India (20-24 Feb 2023)
- A 50-member Ethiopian Parliamentary delegation attended a training programme at the Parliamentary Research & Training Institute for Democracies (PRIDE) in New Delhi. The delegation consisted of govt whips, chairperson & deputy chairperson of various standing committees and speakers of 12 regional parliaments.
Visit of Indian External Affairs Minister to Ethiopia (22 June 2022)
- EAM visited Addis Ababa and met Ethiopian President. They discussed bilateral cooperation including education, health and investment as also development partnership. Also, they exchanged perspectives on the regional and international situation. EAM, who also exchanged pleasantries with Ethiopian Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, appreciated their warm sentiment towards India and their good words for our bilateral partnership.
- EAM inaugurated the Indian Embassy’s Chancery Building & Residential Complex. He was joined by Ethiopian Minister for Women and Social Affairs and State Minister for Foreign Affairs. Later, EAM addressed the Indian community.
Visit of Secretary (Economic Relations) to Ethiopia (4 Oct 2022)
- Secretary (Economic Relations) visited Addis Ababa and met with the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission to discuss India’s engagement with African Union. The consultations covered issues related to India’s cooperation with African Union including the possibility of holding of the next round of the India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS).
- Secretary (ER) met Minister of State for Foreign Affairs to discuss various developments in India-Ethiopia bilateral relations, including political exchanges, development cooperation, training and capacity building.
- Secretary (ER) also addressed a gathering of India Business Community organized by the Indian Embassy in Addis Ababa. Over 100 business persons attended the event.
Foreign Office Consultations in Addis Ababa (3 Oct 2022)
- The 4th Round of Foreign Office Consultations (FOCs) between India and Ethiopia was held in Addis Ababa and co-chaired by Joint Secretary (East and Southern Africa), Ministry of External Affairs, India and Director General for Middle East, Asia & Pacific countries Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ethiopia.
- Both delegations reviewed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations during the Foreign Office Consultations. Issues discussed included political engagements, trade & economic matters, development partnership projects, cultural and consular matters, cooperation in higher education, people-to-people contacts, etc. It was also agreed to work to expand engagement in fields such as defence, Science and Technology, education, agriculture and allied sectors and civil aviation. Views on regional and global issues of mutual interest as well as AU related matters were also exchanged.
Joint Trade Committee meeting in Addis Ababa (6 Nov 2023)
- India and Ethiopia held the Sixth Joint Trade Committee meeting at the level of Director General / Joint Secretary in Addis Ababa.
- Ethiopian Minister for Trade and Regional Integration H.E. Mr. Gebremeskel Chala attended the inaugural session.
- Both sides made comprehensive review of their bilateral trade and acknowledged the huge potential for expansion and diversification of the trade basket. They agreed to cooperate in standardization and quality assurance, financial, pharmaceutical, automobile, renewable energy, agriculture & food processing sectors.
Visits from Ethiopia
- Minister of Peace attended the 3rd ‘No Money for Terror’ Ministerial Conference on Counter-Terrorism Financing in New Delhi (Nov 2022). He met Home Minister and discussed bilateral, multilateral and regional issues of mutual interest.
- Defence Minister attended the India-Africa Defence Dialogue in Gandhinagar (Oct 2022). During the visit, he met Raksha Mantri and discussed bilateral relations including cooperation in the defence sector.
- Minister for Women and Social Affairs Dr. Ergogie Tesfaye (PhD) was conferred ICCR Distinguished Alumni Award – 2021 in New Delhi (Aug 2022). During the visit, she met External Affairs Minister, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment and Minister of Women and Child Development.
- Minister of Industry participated in the 17th CII-Exim Bank Conclave on India – Africa Growth Partnership (July 2022). He was one of the speakers at the Trade Ministerial Session – Building B2G Bridge. Minister of Industry met Minister of State for Commerce & Industry Smt. Anupriya Patel in New Delhi. They discussed on strengthening our strong and deep bilateral relationship with a focus on enhanced economic cooperation and bilateral engagement.
- Deputy Prime Minister & Foreign Minister visited New Delhi (Feb 2021). During the visit, he met External Affairs Minister and discussed wide ranging issues including bilateral, regional and multilateral issues. Earlier, the two Ministers inaugurated the newly constructed chancery building and residence of the Ethiopian Embassy. DPM & FM Mekonnen and MOS for External Affairs attended the Indian-Ethiopia Business Forum meeting.
- EAM met Ethiopian DPM & FM on the sidelines of UNGA in New York (21 Sept 2022 and 26 Sept 2021). On 27th Aug 2021, EAM and Ethiopian DPM & FM had telephonic conversation and inter alia discussed bilateral relations and UNSC matters including the developments in Ethiopia.
- The 2nd Voice of the Global South Summit was held in virtual format (17 Nov 2023). Ethiopian Prime Minister participated at the Inaugural Leaders’ on the theme – Together, for Everyone’s Growth, with Everyone’s Trust.Ethiopian State Minister for Trade & Regional Integration attended the Commerce / Trade Ministers’ Session on Global South & Resilient Supply Chains.
- Ethiopian Minister for Planning and Development participated in the Environment Ministers’ Session of the Voice of Global South Summit (12 Jan 2023).
- Ethiopian Minister of Trade participated in the CII-Exim Bank conclave (July 2021). CEO of Tourism Ethiopia participated in the segment on tourism and hospitality (July 2021). Ethiopian Agriculture Minister participated as Guest of Honour in the CII India Africa Agriculture & Food Processing Summit (Sept 2021). Ethiopian Minister of Trade & Regional Integration participated in the CII Partnership Summit (Dec 2021).
- 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).
- 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), Health Minister (Dec 2017) and MOS for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (2018).
- From Ethiopia, visits were made by State Minister for Labour and Skills (Oct 2022), State Minister for Innovation and Technology (Aug 2022), 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), and Minister for Agriculture and Natural Resources (March 2018).
- 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)
- MoU for Cooperation between Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service and Ethiopian Foreign Relations Services Training Institute (May 2018)
- Agreement on Mutual Visa Exemption for holders of Diplomatic Passports (2021)
- MoU between the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – Central Research Institute, India and Wollo University, Ethiopia (2021)
- Kavi Sammelan was held in Addis Ababa with the participation of two poets from India – Ms. Gauri Mishra and Mr. Sudeep Bhola (21 Jan).
- Embassy hosted National Day Reception (27 Jan). State Minister for Foreign Affairs, State Minister for Industry, MPs, diplomatic community, friends of India & Indian nationals (about 400 people) attended the event.
- Kite festival was organized at the Embassy (12 Feb). About 100 people participated in the event.
- Embassy organized millets food in 4 restaurants in Addis Ababa (24-25 Feb).
- To commemorate International Women’s Day (8 March), Indian Women’s Association and Embassy donated food and medicines to Mary Joy Ethiopia, a charity organization working to empower vulnerable community groups through integrated development programs.
- Embassy organized Holi celebrations in Addis Ababa (12 March). More than 800 people attended the celebrations.
- Embassy organized India invitational cricket tournament in Addis Ababa (19 March). Five teams from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and United Kingdom participated in the tournament.
- India Cup – Cricket tournament was held in Addis Ababa (Feb/March).
- India Cup – Badminton was held in Addis Ababa (23 April).
- Embassy organized the screening of the Mann Ki Baat – 100th episode (30 April).
- Embassy in collaboration with Indian Women’s Association organized the second edition of Bachchas Got Talent (6 May). About 70 children participated in the event.
- Embassy participated at the culture week held in Ghion Hotel by the Culture, Arts and Tourism
- Bureau of Addis Ababa City Government, showcasing the rich and diverse cultural heritage of India. Embassy also displayed Mehendi art to the visitors of Indian stall and organized yoga sessions (1-2 June).
- ICCR sponsored the visit of Abhijit Pohankar’s Bollywood Ghharana group to Ethiopia (6-7 June). The group performed in Bishoftu, Addis Ababa and at the Embassy.
- IDY was celebrated in Addis Ababa (18 June). More than 450 yoga enthusiasts turned up for the yoga session. Rain and cold weather did not dampen our spirits. As part of the celebrations, more than 100 yoga events were held in different parts of Ethiopia – schools, universities, factories, media organizations, health clubs and restaurants.
- Embassy organized sporting day out at the Embassy premises (30 July). More than 300 Indian nationals and friends of India participated in various sporting events – Table Tennis, Carrom, Chess and Kho Kho. Games were also organized for children.
- Free Medical Camp was organized at Bole Lemi Industrial Park (6 Aug). More than 230 people visited Bole Lemi Industrial Park for free general and eye checkup.
- As part of Independence Day celebrations, children’s quiz competition was held at the embassy (12 Aug). Also, some of our community leaders shared stories connected to growing up years in India (Mitti Ki Khusboo – Mitti Ki Yadein). Community leaders narrated stories of lesser known heroes of our freedom movement – Helen Lepcha (Sikkim), K Kumar (Kerala) and Mridula Sarabhai (Gujarat). The afternoon event ended with the taking of Panch Pran Pledge.
- Tree plantation drive campaign was held in Ethiopia (14 Aug). Besides the embassy, more than 25 Indian companies/organizations participated in the campaign.
- On the occasion of India’s Independence Day, a flag hoisting ceremony was held at the embassy (15 Aug). About 400 Indian nationals and friends of India celebrated the Independence Day. The event included reading of the Hon’ble President’s address to the nation which was followed by patriotic songs and dance. An exhibition on Partition Horrors Remembrance was also held.
- As part of National Sports Day, Embassy organized a trekking / exercise morning at the popular Entoto park in Addis Ababa (27 Aug). Indian nationals and friends of India participated in the event. Volleyball matches were also held at the Bole Lemi Industrial Park and in Gelan.
- Hindi Diwas was celebrated in Addis Ababa (16 Sept) with poetry recitations and songs.
- Gandhi Jayanti was celebrated in Addis Ababa (2 Oct) with floral tributes to Gandhi, singing of Bhajan and recitation of poetry. Indian children participated in a painting competition. Also, a painting competition was held at the Indian International School.
- India Unity Day was celebrated in Addis Ababa (28 Oct). About 1000 Indian nationals and friends of India gathered at the Embassy of India premises in Addis Ababa to celebrate India Unity Day. Performances included Indian and Ethiopian songs & dances by Indian and Ethiopian artists. Also, 5 Indian restaurants set up their food stalls.
- ICCR sponsored the visit of a dance group to Ethiopia (30 Oct – 2 Nov). The group performed in Addis and Bole Lemi Industrial Park
- Embassy participated at the Diplomatic Bazaar in Addis Ababa (18 Nov) with a stall and two cultural performances.
- Guru Nanak Jayanti was celebrated in Addis Ababa (26 Nov). The event ended with Langar (community meal). As part of the Constitution of India day, all gathered read the Preamble of the Indian Constitution.
- As part of AKAM and 75 years of diplomatic relations between India and Ethiopia, ICCR sponsored cultural groups visited Ethiopia – Qawwali group to Bishoftu, Addis Ababa and Hawassa (Sept); Kathak group to Addis Ababa and Bole Lemi (Oct); A-Z Dance group to Addis Ababa, Bishoftu, Adami Tulu & Zway (Nov) and Lavani group to Addis Ababa, Adama and Ambo (Nov).
- During the month of May/June 2022, Embassy took the lead in celebrating International Day of Yoga in Ethiopia – 214 events were held in various places in Ethiopia including factories (100), universities (35) and schools (24).
- During the year, a number of cultural/sporting events were organized – India Culture Day and Unity Day (Oct), India Cup – Volleyball (Oct), Sporting Day Out at Embassy (July), Bachcha’s Got Talent (May), India Cup – Badminton (May), Nowruz celebrations (March), Holi festival (March), India Cup – Golf (March), India Cup – Cricket (March) and Kite flying festival in Addis Ababa & Bishoftu (Jan).
- Other events organized included Indian film afternoon (Dec), Constitution Day (Nov), Ayurveda Day (Oct), Gandhi Jayanti (Oct), free medical camp and distribution of glasses (Oct), Hindi Diwas (Sept), National Handloom Day (Aug), and National Youth Day / Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda (Jan).
- During 2022, National Day Receptions were held in Addis Ababa and Hawassa (Jan). On the occasion of Independence Day of India (15 Aug), a flag hoisting function was held at Embassy of India premises in Addis Ababa. This was followed by cultural programme. Receptions were also held in Bishoftu (Oromia region) and Debre Birhan (Amhara region).
- ITEC Day was celebrated at Adama (22 Jan), Ambo (8 March), Addis Ababa (16 Sept), Arbaminch (22 Dec) and Wolaita Sodo (23 Dec).
- Indian films were screened at Wollega University (March), Gambella University (March) St. Mary Convent School, Babich (March), Kidane Mehiret School, Nekemte (March), Don Bosco School in Adami Tullu (April), Mary Help School, Zway (April), Wolaita Sodo University (May) and Don Bosco School in Gambella (May). Tree plantation drives were held in Arbaminch University (Feb), Gambella University (March), Don Bosco School, Adami Tullu (April) and Don Bosco School in Gambella (May).
- 9 students from Bishoftu Defence Engineering College and Infolink participated at the UNESCO-India-Africa Hackathon in India (Nov).
Visits from Ethiopia
- 16-member Ethiopian cultural group participated at the India-International Folk Festival organized by ICCR in Shillong (22-24 Nov 2023)
- 5 artisans and 10-member cultural group from Ethiopia travelled to India for the Surajkund International Crafts Mela (3-19 Feb 2023). The group’s visit was sponsored by Govt of India and State Govt of Haryana.
- An Ethiopian cultural group participated at the Suraj Kund Mela (March-April 2022). The group’s visit was sponsored by Govt of India and State Govt of Haryana. Earlier, Meskerem Assegued, a renowned art critic in Ethiopia and Director, Zoma Contemporary Art Centre, Addis Ababa visited India under ICCR Academic Visitors 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. Dr. Negeri Lencho, Minister of Communication Affairs visited India (March 2017) under ICCR Distinguished Visitors Programme. Ethiopian traditional dance troupe YeTemesgen Lijoch, was sent to India in Oct 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 Band gave performances in New Delhi, Bhubaneswar and Goa (May 2018).
- 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 Indian Lecturers/Professors in some Universities and higher educational institutions.
- The Indian Diaspora in Ethiopia is estimated to be about 5000. There are a number of Indian companies in this country. There are also several Ethiopian companies who engage Indian workers.
- Kannan Ambalam was conferred Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award for his community welfare work in Ethiopia (10 Jan 2023). Dr. Ambalam has constructed low cost bridges, revived water springs, constructed toilet in one school, built 2 check dams and facilitated the electrification of 1 village in Ethiopia. These projects have major impact on improving the livelihoods of rural communities.