India And Spain celebrate 60 years of cooperation

India And Spain celebrate 60 years of co-operation

This year marks 60 years of India-Spain diplomatic relations and, to commemorate this, relationships between the two countries are being made even stronger as ministers from both of them step up their work to deepen co-operation.

Spain opened its first Embassy in India in New Delhi in 1956 and it now has four other representative offices in India. There are also consulates in Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkota and Mumbai. Reciprocating, India has an embassy in Madrid and consulates in Barcelona and Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

The countries recently issued a joint communiqué agreeing to focus more on high level interactions. To this end, a programme of activities has been arranged to enhance the relationship. A Security policy dialogue will be begun, led by the Ministry of External Affairs of India and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain to assess common strategic security challenges. There will also be a collaboration of experts in the fields of foreign affairs and security.

TRADE-OFFS

The combined trade between India and Spain, between January and May of last year was just over three billion dollars. Spain exported goods with a value of one billion dollars to India, and goods worth 2.2 billion dollars came the other way. This makes Spain India’s seventh largest trading partner in the EU.

Of more than 30 Indian companies in Spain, the best known success story is Tech Mahindra Limited. It started life in 1986 as a joint venture with British Telecom as a technology outsourcing firm. With headquarters in Pune, India, it is now a 3.68 billion dollar company with a presence in 51 countries. Its current investment in Spain stands at 800 million Euros.

India could offer great opportunities for Spain in the near future as it plans a big infrastructure push including the areas of power, roads, ports, airports, telecommunications, and urban infrastructure. Again, coming the other way, Spain could benefit greatly from India’s expertise in the chemicals sector, IT and pharmaceuticals.

At the moment, key Indian exports to Spain include organic chemicals, textiles and garments, iron and steel products, automotive components, marine products and leather goods. Spanish goods to India mostly include mechanical appliances, vehicles and automobiles, electrical appliances, rubber and rubber products and olives and olive oil.

DIPLOMACY

The first ever state visit to Spain by an Indian head of state was made in April 2009 by President Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil. In November that same year, the current king, Felipe VI, made his first official visit when he represented Spain as Crown Prince. His itinerary included inaugurating the Cervantes Institute in New Delhi.

In October 2012, King Juan Carlos paid a state visit to India. He was accompanied by a high level delegation including the Spanish Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Industry, Energy and Tourism and Infrastructure and Transport. During the visit, formal agreements were signed in the areas of avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion.

In February of last year, the 10th Session of the JEC was held in New Delhi. It was chaired by Shri Rajeev Kher, Commerce Secretary of India, and his Spanish counterpart, Mr. Jaime García-Legaz Ponce, Secretary of State for Trade of Spain. While discussing issues of mutual interest, both sides acknowledged the considerable growth in bilateral trade despite the global economic difficulties of the previous years. As well as this, they talked about ways to increase the bilateral relationship. Subjects in this included renewable energy, high speed railways, water treatment, agriculture and food processing, infrastructure and tourism.

THE HUMAN SIDE

The immigrant population of Spain is made up of only a very small percentage of Indians. They come second behind the Chinese and Pakistanis.

The earliest Indian settlers were Sindhis who arrived at the end of the 19th century, settling in the Canary Islands. As well as immigrants coming directly from India, many others came from Africa in the 1950s and 1960s. According to Spanish statistics, the resident Indian population in Spain more than tripled between 2001 and the end of 2014; from 9000 34323.  The Indian community is generally regarded as peaceful and well respected.

When 500 Spanish nationals were trapped in last year’s Nepal earthquake tragedy, the two countries worked closely together and India pledged full support to help the Spanish government with evacuations. Directly because of this close co-operation in such difficult times, future ties between the two were agreed in areas including defence, nuclear cooperation, trade and science and technology.

For more information please contact corporate law firm Argali Abogados.

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