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India-Bosnia and Herzegovina Relations

India Bosnia relations are warm and friendly. BiH sees India as a great multi- cultural and multi-religious democracy, which is the goal that BiH is trying to achieve. BiH attaches importance to good relations with India and the need to further develop and strengthen all round cooperation including economic and cultural. Diplomatic relations with BiH were established over a decade ago.The first ever visit by a Bosnian Foreign Minister took place in May 2003. FM Mladen Ivanic visited India and had meetings with EAM, PM, Commerce Minister as also Minister for Tourism & Culture. An interactive session with CII was also held. In the talks with EAM, it was agreed that there would be enhanced efforts to improve bilateral relations, inter-alia by setting up of a Joint Business Council (JBC). The two sides also reviewed cooperation agreements that could be signed including in the fields of culture / tourism & mass media; MLAT; Extradition; S&T, Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) and Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA). India and Bosnia also hold Foreign Office Consultations. India has been providing humanitarian assistance to Bosnia in the form of medicines for the flood-affected area of Tuzla Canton. Bosnia is also grateful for the presence of Indian police observers numbering around one hundred officers, that were part of United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina(UNMIBH), which has since been wound up. The last round of FOCs was held in New Delhi in April 2011.  Mr. Mirko Sarovic, Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, Bosnia and Herzegovina visited India in October, 2012.  The first ever visit at Ministerial level from India to Bosnia and Herzegovina was made by Smt. Preneet Kaur, Minister of State for External Affairs, accompanied by a high-level CII business delegation, from July 11-14, 2012.

Important Bilateral Treaties and Agreements:
  • Agreement on Trade Cooperation signed in April 2001.
  • Agreement on Establishment of Joint Business Council signed in 2003.
  • BIPPA Agreement was signed in 2007 and exchange of instrument of ratification was done in 2008
  • Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty [MLAT] signed in 2009.
  • Air Services Agreement.
  • Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Persons between India and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bilateral visits: B&H to India
Mr Slobodan Ecimovic, Deputy Minister for Foreign Trade and Economic Relations. 2006
Mr Mladen Ivanic Foreign Minister 2003
Mr. Mirko Sarovic, Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations 2012
Bilateral visits: India to B&H
Smt. Preneet Kaur, Minister of State for External Affairs 2012

Commercial and Economic Relations:

India’s trade with Bosnia has been miniscule for a variety of reasons including instability, geographical distance, weak banking sector, poor infrastructure etc. Trade is very small, thus one-time business deals greatly influence the whole picture. Bosnian exports have increased to USD 9.6 million in 2007 from just 0.3 million in 2006 due to a large sale of Mineral fuels, while Indian exports to Bosnia have experienced a fallback from USD 18.3 million in 2006 to just 6.6 million in 2007. In recent years, major items of exports to BiH have been machinery and instruments, drugs, pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals.The second Joint Trade Committee Meeting took place in Delhi in Sep 06 when status of trade & economic cooperation was reviewed. The Bosnian delegation was led by their Deputy Minister for Foreign Trade and Economic Relations and the Indian side by Additional Secretary in Department of Commerce. The Joint Trade Committee reviewed the protocol of the First Session and identified Agriculture, Energy, Construction (of Railway lines), Information Technology and Air Transport as the major areas where cooperation could be furthered. To facilitate business, the EXIM Bank and the Investment Guarantee Agency had entered into an MOU in June 2004 and a Protocol was signed at the conclusion of the JCM.

Major B&H Exports to India:

Mineral fuels, Inorganic Chemicals, Toys, Games sport requisites, Wool, animal hair, and Glass and glassware.

Major Indian Exports to B&H:

Textile articles, Cotton, Articles of Iron and steel, Glassware, Organic chemicals, Carpets and other textile floor coverings, Motor Vehicle accessories etc.

Investments:

There have been some investments by Indian companies in Bosnia. As the privatization process continues, albeit at a slow pace, opportunities for securing a manufacturing foothold exist in fields as diverse as Textile, Automobile Components, Metal Processing, Energy, Wood Processing, Mining, Food Processing, Tourism, Pharmaceutical and infrastructure projects on BOT basis etc.A leading Indian company – the Ispat group has made a 51 % equity investment in November, 2003 in the only coke and fertilizer plant in the BiH-Global lspat Koksana Industrija. This is located at Lukavac, Tuzla Canton of BiH and a team of 15 Indians from Ispat industries have begun work. Once it is revived its total sales are expected to be around US $ 275 million annually thereby contributing 5% increase in the GDP of BiH annually. It  generated direct employment for 1200 Bosnian citizens in the region apart from generating revenue and other employment opportunities in ancillary sectors for another 5,000 to 6,000 Bosnians.  Arcelor Mittal has acquired a steel mill in Zenica and some mining sites in Republika Sprska (one of the two entities in BiH) with a total investment of approximately US$ 200 million.

IT Centre:

India has proposed to establish an IT training centre in BiH.  BiH Minister for Transport and Communications, during his visit to India in May 2010, held discussions with the Indian Ministry of Information Technology, TCS and NIIT separately.

Cultural Troupes:

India participates regularly at the Annual Sarajevo Winter Festival held in Sarajevo in February-March by sending cultural troupes by ICCR, films by XP Division. In the Sarajevo Winter 2008, a 5-member Mohiniattam Dance Group led by Dr. Deepti Omcherry Bhalla gave performances. An ICCR-sponsored 12-member Rajasthani Folk Group of Shri Nek Mohd. Langa was participating at the First International Folk Festival “DUKAT” in Bosnia & Herzegovina from June 19-22, 2008. The Indo-BiH Friendship Society was formally registered in July 2010 and organised its first cultural event during the accreditation visit of the Ambassador in December 2010.  A programme on Rabindranath Tagore was held in June, 2011.

Cultural Agreement:

A Cultural Agreement on cooperation in the field of culture, education, art, science, sport, media, tourism and youth activities between India & Bosnia & Herzegovina is likely to be signed shortly.

Scholarships:

Indian Technical & Economic Assistance (ITEC)

Bosnia & Herzegovina has been allotted two slots under ITEC programme for 2008-09. Government of Bosnia & Herzegovina takes advantage of this training by sending its employees to India under this programme. The Government of India bears all expenses including return international passage under this programme. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia & Herzegovina sends its diplomats to attend the PCFD courses organised by the Foreign Service Institute of Ministry of External Affairs of India.

Professional Course for Foreign Diplomats (PCFD)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia & Herzegovina sends its diplomats to attend the PCFD courses organised by the Foreign Service Institute of Ministry of External Affairs of India.

Visa requirement for officials:

Diplomatic and official passport holders have to obtain from the Embassy of B&H, New Delhi single/multiple entry visas.

Types of visas issued by the Indian Embassy:

The details and type of visas issued to students, business people and tourists are available on the Embassy of B&H, New Delhi Website : http://www.mfa.gov.ba/

Air links with India:

No direct flights are available, but through Austria or Germany.

B&H Embassy in India:

Embassy of B&H,E-9/11, Vasant Vihar,110057 New Delhi, IndiaTel: + (91 11) 261 474 15+ (91 11) 416 624 81Fax: + (91 11) 416 624 82E-mail: abhind@gmail.com

Indian Community:

About 40 Indians primarily working for Ispat and Mittal Steel comprise the Indian community in Bosnia and Herzegovina.