GS-2 “Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.”
- Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on 6th November returned from his six-day three-nation tour of Africa and described it as an “extremely productive” visit. The Vice President was accompanied by a high-level delegation for the visit to Botswana, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
- The delegation included Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Krishan Pal Gurjar, two MPs and senior officers of the Union government.
- Naidu’s official engagements included meeting presidents of the countries; holding bilateral meetings with his counterparts and delegation level talks; and interacting with business groups and Indian communities.
- Several MoUs and agreements, including extradition treaty, and pacts on agriculture and training were signed during the visit.
- From India, there have been 26 outgoing visits to Africa at the level of president, vice president and prime minister in the last four years.
- India’s relations with Botswana have been close and friendly. India established diplomatic relations with Botswana immediately after its independence in 1966 and opened its diplomatic mission in Gaborone in 1987. Botswana is an active member of Southern African Development Community (SADC), South African Customs Union (SACU), WTO and other International organizations.
- India Africa Forum Summit: As part of the decisions taken under the India Africa Forum Summit I & II, fully GOI-funded specialized training courses were offered in various fields viz. agricultural and related fields like food-processing; food preservation, hydrology, small-scale industries sectors; finance, accounting, management, postal management, security, e-governance, and in highly professional fields such as construction of high ways; engineering-related & Information and Communication Technology (ICT). These training programmes are organized at various Government and State/ Private vocational & learning institutions of excellence.
- About 65 Botswana nominees have benefitted from these special training courses so far. Indian Council for Cultural Relations: The Government of India offers scholarships to meritorious Botswana students under various scholarship schemes of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
- These are in non-medical undergraduate, post graduate and research degree levels, leading to PhDs at various Indian universities. The number of these slots have been increased to 17 for the academic session 2012-13 onwards.
- Trade & Commerce: Botswana offers a business-friendly atmosphere and welcomes foreign investment. Botswana is heavily dependent on diamonds which forms approx. 40% of its GDP and almost 70% of its export earnings come from this single natural resource.
- To reduce heavy dependence on this single commodity, the Government of Botswana has in the past few years been striving to diversify its economy and encouraging investment in agriculture, tourism industry and services sectors.
- Cooperation in the Diamond & other minerals: Botswana is mineral-rich country and offers great potential for investment in the mining sector which has hitherto been predominantly under the control of De Beers and Government of Botswana through 50:50 partnership in two companies, Debswana (in the mining) and Diamond Trading Company (DTC) (in trading). Botswana has four major diamond mines. With the formation of new 100% Stateowned Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) and the shifting of DTC (International)’s London operations to Gaborone, Botswana aspires to become the new global Diamond Hub.
- Bilateral Relations between India and Malawi are cordial and friendly. The two countries hold identical views on many regional, international and multilateral issues. India established diplomatic ties with Malawi in 1964, the year when Malawi gained its independence. The diplomatic mission was closed down in May 1993 and was reopened in March 2012. Our interests were looked after by our Mission in Zambia between May 1993 and February 2012.
- The first High Commissioner Shri Vanlalhuma assumed charge on 21st June 2013 and left Malawi on completion of his tour of duty on 13th June 2016. Shri Suresh Kumar Menon assumed charge as the new High Commissioner of India to Malawi on 09th August 2016. The current President of Malawi is Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika who was sworn in as the fifth President after May 2014 elections.
- Malawi opened its Mission in Delhi in February, 2007. There is considerable goodwill among the Malawian leadership for India. Among large number of Malawian who have studied in India, there are some Malawi leaders who are alumni of Indian Universities viz. the former President of Malawi, Late Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika and Dr. George Chaponda, the current Malawi Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development.
- India has also become a major destination for medical tourism from sub-Saharan region. Although South Africa is next door, but Malawians and most other Africans now prefer India for advanced medical treatment.
- The primary reason for India being preferred destination is its state-of-the-art medical treatment at affordable rates as well as the reasonable cost of living in India.
- India and Zimbabwe have a long history of close and cordial relations. During the era of the Munhumutapa Kingdom, Indian merchants established strong links with Zimbabwe, trading in textiles, minerals and metals. Sons of the royal house of Munhumutapa journeyed to India to broaden their education.
- In the 17th century, a great son of Zimbabwe, Dom Miguel – Prince, Priest and Professor, and heir to the imperial throne of the Mutapas – studied in Goa.
- An inscribed pillar stands today at a chapel in Goa, a tribute to his intellectual stature. India supported Zimbabwe’s freedom struggle. Former Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi attended Zimbabwean independence celebrations in 1980.
Indian Origin Community
- The beginning of Indian presence in Zimbabwe goes back to about 1890 when Indian plantation workers in apartheid South Africa crossed over to the then Southern Rhodesia.
- At present the number of Zimbabweans of Indian origin, who are predominantly from the province of Gujarat, is estimated at about 9,000. The community has formed societies on religious lines, though they live in harmony.
- Capacity Building Programmes India has been engaged in human resource development and capacity building efforts in Zimbabwe. ITEC and ICCR scholarships are popular among Zimbabweans.
- During 2012-13, 257 ITEC/IAFS training slots/ICCR scholarships were availed by Zimbabwe.