INDIA ZIMBABWE RELATIONS
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Context: A Parliamentary Delegation from Zimbabwe led by Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe, Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, called on President of India, Smt Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan
- The President said that relations between India and Zimbabwe are centuries old. The presence of about 9000 people of Indian origin in Zimbabwe is an important link between our people.
- The trade between India and Zimbabwe is around $200 million. Indian companies have invested about $500 million in Zimbabwe.
- India has provided five lines of credit to Zimbabwe, and has also set up a vocational training centre.
- ITEC and ICCR scholarships from India are popular among Zimbabweans.
- Political relations 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 Harare in 1980.
- There were frequent exchanges of high level visits until 1996. Hon’ble Vice President of India, Shri Venkaiah Naidu visited Zimbabwe in 2018. This was the first-ever visit by an Indian Vice President and a high level visit from India to Zimbabwe in the past 22 years.
- Capacity Building Programmes(ITEC & ICCR Scholarships) Assistance under the ITEC programme has been a regular feature of India’s assistance to Zimbabwe for capacity building. ITEC and ICCR scholarships are much sought after by Zimbabweans.
- Regular Assistance/Aid is extended by India
- The Mission initiated a platform for Indian corporates in Zimbabwe to sponsor meritorious students to India from their CSR fund in premier institutions like IITs and IIMs.
- Commercial relations Zimbabwe has, of late, started following ‘Look East Policy’ and India is now looked upon as an important trading as well as business partner.
- India and Zimbabwe signed Joint Commission Agreement in January 1987. Four meetings of the Joint Commission have been held so far – first in New Delhi in April 1987; second in Harare in February 1989; third in New Delhi in October 1990 and the fourth in Harare in January 1996. No Joint Commission meeting has been held since 1996 mainly due to Zimbabwe’s economic turmoil.
- The frequency of visits by business delegations from Zimbabwe has gone up in the last few years and a probable turn-around in the Zimbabwean economy in the future can open up considerable opportunities for Indian companies in agro-processing, mining, telecommunications, power and pharmaceuticals
- The exact figure of Indian investment in Zimbabwe is difficult to work out. However, the data available with Zimbabwe Investment Authority [ZIA] from 2017 shows a figure of approximately US$ 300 million which is not a true reflection of India’s investment in Zimbabwe as the data shows only fresh investments. All other investments coming through acquisition, liquidation, joint venture etc are not routed through ZIA.
- An MoU on Cooperation in the field of Arts, Culture and Heritage between the two countries was signed in 2018 during the visit of Hon’ble Vice President of India to Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe and India signed an agreement in 1981 which facilitated cultural exchange programmes for the years 1992 to 1994; but due lack of capacity to reciprocate on the part of Zimbabwe, cultural interaction has become somewhat unidirectional.
- 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.