India–Malta relations

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Maltese-Indian relations
Map indicating locations of Malta and India

Malta

India

Malta and India maintain diplomatic relations. Malta opened a High Commission in New Delhi in 2007[citation needed]; The present Maltese High Commissioner in New Delhi is H.E. John Aquilina and Ms Alberta Borg is second secretary. Malta also has Honorary Consulates in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.

India is represented in Malta through its embassy in Tripoli and an honorary consul Mr Johann J. Cuschieri at the Honorary Indian Consulate in St Venera, Malta. Both countries are full members of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Political[edit]

The political relations between the nations of Malta and India stretch back many years even before the two became independent nations. In 1878, the British controlled Indian government dispatched 7000 native Indian troops to the island of Malta.[1] This was the first time the Indian Army was deployed to Europe, and questions regarding its constitutionality were raised in the British parliament.[2] The move was seen as a signal, during the height of the Great Eastern Crisis, that Britain was ready to supplement its own forces with troops from India to counter any Russian threats to Turkey, or future wars in Europe.[3]

Throughout World War II, the British used Malta as hub to bring Indian troops to and from the Atlantic.[4]

India and Malta exchanged presidential visits in 1990 and 1992.[5] Malta opened a High Commission in New Delhi in 2007. Malta also has a Consulate in Chennai, Kolkata and in Mumbai. India is represented in Malta through its embassy in Tripoli (Libya) and an honorary consul Mr Johann J. Cuschieri in St Venera.[4][6] According to a United Nations trade agreement, the two nations will meet at least once annually to discuss economic, industrial, scientific and technological trade as well as other relationship issues.[7][8]

In a speech to the Maltese Parliament, Foreign Minister Dr. Michael Frendo mentioned that he wanted to make India a focus area in Malta's foreign policy. Frendo visited India in March 2005. The six-day visit was the first high level visit after a gap of 13 years, when the then President Ċensu Tabone visited India.[9][10][11]

Economic[edit]

A pair of Indian Maruti Gypsy vehicles in Gozo, Malta.

The Maltese government encourages Indian business firms to set up business in Malta. In order to attract Indian businesses Malta has offered various incentives to Indian companies.[12] Malta has also signed a bilateral trade agreement with the Indian government, for the avoidance of double taxation.[13] Bilateral trade between India and Malta witnessed a phenomenal growth. During April-November 2012 period India’s exports to Malta had reached US$ 265.26 million whereas imports from Malta have been US$ 22.96 million. The main items of India’s exports to Malta are marine products, drugs, pharmaceutical & fine chemicals, inorganic/organic/agro chemicals, manufactures of metals, transport equipment's, and other commodities. The main items of India’s imports from Malta are pulp and waste paper, metal scraps, organic chemicals, medicinal & pharmaceutical products, electronic goods.

Cultural[edit]

According to a United Nations treaty both nations decided to establish stronger cultural ties.[14] The two agreed to honor each other's cultural heritage and promote cultural ties in each other's countries.[14]

In year 2007, there were around 200 Non-Resident Indians living in Malta.[6] Malta also has a well-established business community of Indian descent, that traces its roots to migration of Sindhi businessmen starting around 1887. While both countries were under British rule, Malta served as a convenient trading node for exporting silk and curios from India and Far East to places around the Mediterranean and South America. However following India's independence, and due to strict immigration laws in Malta, not a single Indian is said to have emigrated to Malta between 1952 and 1985. The traders of Indian descent in Malta belong to the Sindhi community and are locally known as l-Indjani ("the Indians").[15] The community continues to maintain Indian traditions in Malta, such as organizing Diwali celebrations and running temples. Though once very isolated, it is now well-integrated into Maltese society and regarded as a national local minority. However Hinduism is still to be recognized as a religion in Malta. Maltese have been going to India from early twentieth century to spread Christianity in India. The first recorded arrival is of a Maltese missionary to Kolkata in 1924. With the strict visa rules coming into force in India Maltese missionaries entry into India is now restricted. There are several Maltese residents in India supported by the Maltese Consulate in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata that provide Consular service to them. Maltese firms like Malta Enterprises have a presence in India. [16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Indian troops sent to malta: A serious event in English history. Troops ate Her Majesty's disposal. How Englishmen are shirking battlefields.". New York Times. 1878-05-09. Retrieved 2009-04-23. 
  2. ^ Jeffery, Keith (1981). "An English Barrack in the Oriental Seas'? India in the Aftermath of the First World War". Modern Asian Studies 5 (3): 369–386. 
  3. ^ Duckers, Peter (2003). The British-Indian Army, 1860-1914. Buckinghamshire, UK: Shire Publications. p. 42. ISBN 0-7478-0550-4. 
  4. ^ a b Maltese representations in India "India-Malta relations". Government of Malta. Retrieved 2009-04-23. 
  5. ^ "Malta's Foreign Minister Michael Frendo arrives". The Press Trust of India. 2005-07-05. Retrieved 2009-04-25. 
  6. ^ a b "Country Brief of Malta". Government of India. Retrieved 2009-04-23. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Treaty #31421 India and Malta, Agreement on economic, industrial, scientific and technological cooperation" (in English & Hindi). United Nations. Retrieved 2009-04-23. 
  8. ^ "Malta and India to increase political and trade cooperation". MaltaMedia Online Network. Mar 14, 2005. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  9. ^ "Ministry of External Affairs (Central Europe Division)". India Ministry of External Affairs. March 2007. Retrieved 2009-04-25. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Commonwealth Connects to hold international e-partnership summit in India". Commonwealth. 1 March 2007. Retrieved 2009-04-25. 
  11. ^ "Malta A Doorway For Indian Companies To European Markets: Fm.". AsiaPulse News. March 14, 2005. Retrieved 2009-04-25.  "Malta has called upon Indian entrepreneurs to set up shop in the Mediterranean island country and use it as an export hub to provide access to the European and North African markets."
  12. ^ "Malta woos Indian investors to set up businesses". The Economic Times. 27 Sep 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  13. ^ "Malta keen on India-EU bilateral trade agreement". MaltaMedia.com. Mar 25, 2007. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  14. ^ a b "Treaty #31422 India and Malta, Cultural Agreement". United Nations. December 15, 1992. Retrieved 2009-04-23. 
  15. ^ Falzon, Mark-Anthony (Autumn 2001). "Origins and establishment of the Indian business community in Malta". Bank of Valletta Review 24. 
  16. ^ Amore, Katia (2007). "Malta". In Gropas, Ruby; Triandafyllidou, Anna. European immigration: a sourcebook. Aldershot, Hants, England: Ashgate. pp. 237–248. ISBN 0-7546-4894-X. 

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