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.
Visit of Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister & Foreign Minister to India
- Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister & Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen visited New Delhi (17-19 Feb 2021). During the visit, he met External Affairs Minister of India Dr. S. Jaishankar and discussed wide ranging issues including bilateral, regional and multilateral issues. Earlier (18 Feb), 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 (17 Feb).
- The two sides signed an Agreement on Mutual Visa Exemption for holders of Diplomatic Passports and a MoU between the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – Central Research Institute, India and Wollo University, Ethiopia.
- 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).
- 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)
- 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)
- 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).
- ICCR Foundation Day 2019 was celebrated in Addis Ababa (4 June) with the participation of Labour Minister and State Minister for Agriculture & Natural Resources. Both dignitaries had studied in India under ICCR scholarship. More than hundred alumni of ICCR participated in the programme. In association with Ethiopian Ministry of Culture & Tourism, Mission also organized a walk of heritage buildings built by Indian masons in the centre of Addis Ababa city (9 June). IDY 2019 was commemorated in Addis Ababa with the participation of Culture Minister, MPs and more than 1500 yoga enthusiasts.
- Due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, cultural activities could not be organized during 2020 with the exception of Gandhi@150 celebrations that was observed at the Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Addis Ababa (2 Oct 2020). During the National Day Reception (26 Jan 2021), Embassy felicitated Shri M Sardarwallah, the only PBD Awardee (2021) from Ethiopia and Indian school teachers who have served in Ethiopia for the past 40 years.
- 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 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 Distinguished Visitors 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).
- 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 1500-2000 Indian Lecturers/Professors in about 40 Universities and higher educational institutions.
- The Indian Diaspora in Ethiopia is estimated to be between 6000-7000.
- There are a number of Indian companies in this country. There are also several Ethiopian companies who engage Indian workers.