About Us Brief of India-Ireland Bilateral Relations

1. Historical: India-Ireland interactions date back to the 19th C, when a significant number of Irishmen joined the British Civil Service, medical, engineering and army services. During this period, Irish missionaries and educationists also spread out into all regions of India. Links were further strengthened by connections between the nationalist movements of the two countries since the early 1900's. Noble laureates Rabindranath Tagore and W.B. Yeats inspired each other.

2. Formal Diplomatic Links: These were established in 1947. India opened an Embassy in Dublin in 1951. The Irish Embassy in New Delhi was opened in 1964 (before Moscow, Tokyo, Beijing), and Honorary Consulates in Mumbai and Bengaluru in 1976 and 2000 respectively. Honorary Consulates were established in Chennai and Kolkata in 2010 and 2017. The Irish Government opened a full-fledged Consulate General in Mumbai in April 2019, as part of its Asia-Pacific outreach policy.

3.  People-to-people Relations: These were particularly strengthened after the crash of an Air India aircraft, Kanishka, off the south-western coast of Ireland on 23 Jun 1985 in a terrorist bombing. The extraordinary level of solidarity, support and assistance extended by the local population to the victims’ families created a unique bond. A commemorative stone plaque was installed at the village of Ahakista which lies near the site of the crash and an annual commemoration ceremony is organized by the local community. Minister of State for External Affairs, Gen V.K. Singh (Retd) attended the 30th anniversary of the crash held at Ahakista on 23 Jun 2015. Every year the Indian Ambassador attends the commemoration service at Ahakista (a video message was sent out in 2020, in keeping with pandemic restrictions).

4. VVIP/Ministerial Visits: There have been 3 Presidential visits from Ireland [Mary Robinson, 1993; Patrick Hillery, 1978; & Eamon de Valera, 1948] and 2 Presidential visits from India [Sanjiva Reddy, 1982 & S. Radhakrishnan, 1964]. At the Prime Ministerial level, Irish  PMs Bertie Ahern visited in 2006 & Garret FitzGerald in 1984; PM Modi visited Dublin in 2015. Pdt. Nehru visited in 1956 and 1949. There is a pending invitation for Irish PM to visit India, which is being worked upon. Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O'Connor visited India (Feb 2018) to attend the Irish Education Fair. Since 2005, an Irish Minister has visited India on St. Patrick’s Day (National Day), except for last couple of years. Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan visited India (Feb 2017). Minister of State for Employment and Small Business, Mr. Pat Breen led a trade delegation to India (Nov 2016).  Minister for Public Expenditure Reforms, Mr. Brendan Howlin visited India (Mar 2016). Other visits included visits of Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. James Reilly (Mar 2015), Minister for Children Ms. Frances Fitzgerald (Mar 2013), Minister of State for European Affairs, Mr. Paschal Donohoe (to participate in  ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in New Delhi, Nov 2013), Minister of State for Education and Skills, Research and Innovation, Mr. Damien English (Nov 2014) and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mr. Richard Bruton (Nov 2013 and Apr 2014).  Minister of State for Health, Jim Daly visited  Mumbai and Delhi (Mar 2019) on occasion of St. Patrick’s Day and the main take-away was decision to work on an MoU on Health. SG Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Niall Burgess visited India (May 2019) to exchange views on issues of mutual interest. Minister of Tourism of Punjab visited Ireland (Sep 2019)  to take part in India Tourism Road Show. Minister of Health, Child Care and Social Justice of Kerala visited (Nov 2019) and had very constructive discussions with key health care stakeholders.

5. Terrorism: Ireland has consistently supported India in its fight against terror.  In the aftermath of the Pulwama cross-border terrorist incident, then Irish Deputy PM and FM  Simon Coveney issued a statement (19 Feb 2019), strongly condemning the suicide bombing, expressing concern at the increasing levels of violence in the region and maintaining that Ireland will continue to work with India and the international community to support a comprehensive international response to preventing and countering terrorism. 

6.  Major Agreements: (i) Agreement on Air Transport (Feb 1991); (ii) Agreement on Foreign Office Consultations (Oct 1993); (iii) MOU on Joint Working Group on Information Technology (Apr 2000); (iv) Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation (Nov 2000); (v) Agreement on Cooperation in Culture; (vi) Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation and (vii) Agreement on Cooperation between Science Foundation Ireland(SFI) and Indian National Science Academy (2006); (viii) Agreement on authorization for dependents of Diplomatic, Consular, Technical and Administrative Staff of Diplomatic and Consular Missions to engage in Gainful Employment (21 Mar 2018); (ix) MOU on Education needs to be finalised (could not be signed during visit of PM Modi in  Sep 2015). We are working on MOUs on Education and Cultural Exchanges.

7. Foreign Office Consultations (FOCs): The 8th round was held in Dublin in Feb 2020, led by Secretary (West), during which comprehensive discussions were held on bilateral, regional and global issues.

8. Multilateral: Both India and Ireland have been elected as non-permanent UNSC members for 2021-22, and there will be opportunities to work on shared priorities of multilateralism, climate change, peacekeeping, rule based international order in post-Covid era, peace and security.

9. Bilateral Trade in Goods and Services: Total bilateral trade for 2019 was Euro 1.2 bn (+25.82%). India’s exports to Ireland stood at Euro 636 mn (+13.58%) and imports from Ireland at Euro 480 mn (+46.80%). Main Items imported from India were machinery and mechanical appliances, telecommunications equipment, computer accessories, precision equipment and pharmaceuticals. Main items exported from India were organic chemicals, textiles, garments & clothing accessories, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, machinery, light engineering goods, plastics and rubber.  The opening of the Irish Consulate General in Mumbai is expected to trigger the trade volumes. Trade in services between India and Ireland has emerged as a major facet in economic relations.  The total trade in services, as per last figure  was  US$ 4.2 bn.

10. Investments and technical know-how: Embassy has been encouraging the Irish companies to engage in our major flagship programmes like “Make in India”, “Digital India”, “Clean India” and “Smart Cities”. Ireland has strengths in sectors like agriculture; clean technologies; fin-tech, med-tech; aviation; and tourism. Major Irish companies which have presence in India are CRH Taxback Group, Connolly Red Mills, Globoforce, Keventer, ICON, Kerry Group, Diageo, Glanbia. Major Indian companies which have presence in Ireland include Pinewood/Wockhardt, Reliance Genemedix, Crompton Greaves, Deepak Fasteners, Jain Irrigation Systems, Shapoorji Pallonji, Amneal Pharmaceuticals, Wipro, TCS, Infosys and HCL.  Post-Covid, Irish industry can contribute to our Atmanirbhar Bharat programme, specially in digital-tech sector.  There are possibilities in medical research, pharmaceuticals as well as frontier technologies like AI, i-cloud messaging, IoT, RFID, cyber security and VR applications. New opportunities have also emerged for recruitment of larger number of Indian healthcare specialists in Ireland. In context of Brexit, Ireland can emerge as a strong partner on account of its distinct advantages (English speaking, common law, low corporate tax, skilled workforce).

11. Education: Ireland has become a significant destination for Indian students seeking higher education, particularly post-graduate, doctoral and post-doctoral students in the areas of engineering, technology, medicine, and management. There are about 5,000 Indian students in Irish higher educational institutions. The Trinity College and Thapar University, Patiala have an MOU for joint degree programme in five engineering and science disciplines. New forms of S&T collaboration between India’s Dept of S&T and  Science Foundation, Ireland are being explored. A short-duration ICCR Chair on Politics and International Affairs exists at the Dublin City University (DCU).

12. Tourism: As per latest available figures, around 44,000 Irish tourists visit India annually, and a similar number of Indian visitors come to Ireland. Ireland gained traction as  a tourist attraction after the introduction of common British Irish visa scheme. Electronic Tourist Visa facility was extended to Ireland w.e.f. 15 Aug 2015, with no reciprocity.

13. International Day of Yoga (IDY): IDY-20 was celebrated in Dublin in alignment with local Covid protocols, and live-streamed to more than 10K people practising from home. Event was dedicated to front-line staff rendering exceptional services during the pandemic. Physical participants were mainly front-line staff from various Departments viz. Police force, Fire Service, National Ambulance, Dublin Bus, Hospitals and Cleaning Services. Other virtual events included Yoga quiz competition, My Life-My Yoga video blogging competition, Yoga films and free online Yoga classes.

14.  Gandhi@150 and Guru Nanak@550: A series of activities were undertaken for Gandhi@150 in 2018-19. These included kick-off celebration at St. Patrick’s Cathedral (02 Oct 2018), with rendition by famous musician Tom Toher of “Vaishnav Jan To Tene Kahiye”; commemorative talks at Universities; release of “Walk with Gandhi”  illustrative book by Gabriel Rosenstock with illustrations by Masood Hussain; release of photographic book “Gandhi in Gujarat” by photographer Jorge Ruiz Villasante; plantation of Gandhi Peace Trees at University College Cork, Trinity College Dublin and at Michael Davitt Museum in County Mayo; Gandhi Peace Walk to Wicklow Mountain; community art work on Gandhi symbols, etc. There is in principle agreement by Irish authorities for release of a commemorative Gandhi@150 postal stamp and installation of a Gandhi bust in Dublin. Several activities were also undertaken for Guru Nanak@550, including installation of a commemorative plaque of renowned Sikh scholar, Max Arthur MacAuliffe from County Limerick who translated the Sikh holy scripture into English in early 20th C., as well as a travelling photo exhibition on Sikhism at Christ Church Cathedral Dublin and in various other cities.

15. Culture: A major Cultural Festival of India was approved  by Ministry of Culture for 2019-20, but had to be kept on hold on account of the Covid pandemic.  The local Indian community is strongly supported by the Embassy for its various cultural performances,  representing various States.  A major event in the cultural calendar is the annual Indian Film Festival, with screening of contemporary films, participation of film actors/directors and thematic panel discussions. Indian Tourism events and road shows are organised annually. Post-Covid, there will be opportunities to promote traditional Indian lifestyle systems and immunity boosting products like Indian herbs and spices. Embassy is  seriously pursuing proposals for institution of Yoga/Ayurveda Chairs in major Universities in Ireland.

16. Indian Community: There is approximately 45,000 Indian origin population in Ireland, of whom approx. 26,500 are PIOs and approx. 18,500 are NRIs. The bulk of the community is in health-care, IT, engineering and senior management positions. The community is well-regarded locally and has integrated well into Irish society.  Former Irish PM and current DPM, Leo Varadkar (41 years) has Indian ancestry (father is Indian, mother is Irish). Some major Irish Govt decisions in recent past have had positive implications for Indian community: (i) allowing wearing of turbans and hijabs as part of police uniform code (Apr 2019); (ii) non-requirement of obtaining additional work permit for spouses and partners of Critical Skill Employment Permit holders (Mar 2019) which is likely to attract more Indian high-skilled workers to Ireland, particularly in high-tech, medical and management sectors. (iii) Non-requirement of obtaining re-entry visa for GNIB card holders (Apr 2019).

17. Covid-19 Support Structures: At the outset of Covid pandemic (Mar 2020), Embassy put in place institutional  support structures to assist Indian citizens. These included setting up of 24/7 helplines, Community Support Groups in all major cities of Ireland, as well as partnerships with Indian Associations, gurudwara, religious bodies and voluntary groups. Special support systems were instituted at Universities for the students. Embassy’s social media platforms were used effectively. Regular webinars were held with Indian community members. Two Vande Bharat Mission repatriation flights were organised from Dublin to various destinations in India for stranded citizens (May-Jun 2020).

Website: www.indianembassydublin.gov.in

Useful resources:https://www.facebook.com/IndiainIreland

Twitter: https://twitter.com/IndiainIreland

Youtube: IndiainIreland