India-Dominican Republic Bilateral Relations
Political relations and institutional framework
Diplomatic relations between India and Dominican Republic were established in May,1999. DR opened its Embassy in New Delhi in 2006. India has an Honorary Consul in Santo Domingo. DR supported India for UNSC non-permanent seat 2010 as well as Indian candidatures for ICJ, IMO and UNESCO in 2018 as well as WHO and ICAO in 2019. DR is one of the first signatories of the Framework Agreement on International Solar Alliance.
MOS (Shri Rao Inderjit Singh), MEA visited Dominican Republic in September 2004. During the visit, the DR government announced its intention to upgrade diplomatic relations and open an Embassy in New Delhi. It also invited Indian companies to develop business and invest in areas such as IT, Pharmaceuticals, and infrastructure projects. The DR leaders offered to work with India in the UN, WTO, and other multilateral forums. MOS offered ITEC training slots and technical assistance to DR.
DR Foreign Minister Carlos Morales Troncoso visited India in February 2006 heading a high level delegation which included Ministers of IT and Investment, Higher Education and Science and technology, Deputy Tourism Minister and 12 business delegates. The delegation visited Delhi, Agra, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mumbai. Immediately after the visit, DR opened its Embassy in India on 1st May 2006. An agreement on Bilateral Cooperation was signed by DR Foreign Minister and Minister of State Shri Anand Sharma in Delhi on 17 February 2006. MOS (Shri Anand Sharma), MEA visited the DR in February 2007.
In June 2008, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Clara Quinones de Longo from Dominican Republic attended the Second India -Central American System for Integration (SICA) Foreign Ministers’ meeting in New Delhi. Setting up of an IT Centre in Dominican Republic was announced at the meeting as a symbol of South- South cooperation.
Minister of State for External Affairs, Dr. Shashi Tharoor visited Dominican Republic at the invitation of President Dr. Leonel Fernandez Reyna from January 23-25, 2010. During the visit, wide ranging talks were held with the President and the Foreign Minister Mr. Carlos Morales. MoS (ST) signed an MoU to set up an IT Centre for Excellence in DR with the assistance of GOI. The Centre was inaugurated by the President in August 2011. CDAC India ran the Centre with three Indian faculty members for two years. MoS (ST), also held discussions with DR Foreign Trade Minister Mr. Eddy Martinez Manzueta.
President of the Dominican Republic Dr. Leonel Fernandez visited India and attended the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit held from February 3-5, 2011. During his stay in India, besides meeting with Prime Minister and External Affairs Minister, he met with Indian business leaders and attended seminars at Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi by FICCI, CII etc. He also addressed the Indian Council of World Affairs. A high level business delegation accompanied him.
General (Rtd.) Shri V.K. Singh, Minister of State (VKS) visited DR in February, 2015. He met Foreign Minister, Navarro, and delivered an address on India’s policy towards LAC region and also interacted with business leaders. An Agreement for Cooperation in Renewable Energy was signed.
An Agreement on gainful occupation for family members of diplomatic mission was signed in Santa Domingo in June 2016. A Memorandum of Understanding between the Foreign Service Institute of the Ministry of External Affairs and the Institute of Higher Education in Diplomatic and Consular Training of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Dominican Republic was signed in Santo Domingo on 3rd October 2017..
Minister of State for External Affairs, Shri V. Muraleedharan visited the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo from 25-27 August 2019. During the visit, he called on Foreign Minister Miguel O. Vargas Maldonado and held discussions with Minister of Energy Antonio Isa Conde, Minister of Economy, Planning and Development Juan A. Jimenez Nunez and Minister of Industry Nelson Toca Simo. During the visit, an Agreement on Exemption on Visa Requirements for Holders of Diplomatic and Official Passports between the Government of Republic of India and Government of the Dominican Republic was signed.
Vice Minister for Bilateral Foreign Policy, Ambassador Jose Blanco travelled to India from 11 - 18 November as part of ICCR Distinguished Visitor Program. He called on Secretary East and DG ICCR during his visit. He also travelled to Agra, and for a familiarizations visit.
Trade and Economic Cooperation
Bilateral trade between India and the Dominican Republic has increased significantly in last few years, with balance of trade in favour of DR. Two way trade increased to USD 782.36 million by the end of 2018-19. Main items of India’s exports are cotton textiles and readymade garments, drugs and pharmaceuticals. In the case of DR’s exports to India, gold accounts for 70% of the country’s total exports to India, having India become one of the top destinations of DR’s exports.
Foreign Minister Miguel O Vargas, at the inaugural ceremony of the Seminar “Potential offered by the 53 countries of the Commonwealth to the Dominican Republic” highlighted the fact that India was now the top destination for DR mining exports. Mining sector exports topped US$1.6 billion in 2018, a 43% jump between 2010 and 2018.
ITEC and Bilateral Assistance
Under the ITEC programme, the Government of India has been offering several slots per year to the Dominican Republic for training in various institutions in India since 1999. DR is also being offered slots under PCFD programme run by the Foreign Service Institute. As part of the First Special Course for Diplomats from Dominican Republic 8 officers from the DR foreign office participated in a special course at FSI New Delhi held from 28 October – 11 November 2019.
A large quantity of life saving drugs worth USD 50,000 was donated to the Dominican Republic in March 2006. The donation was very well appreciated by the DR government. On the aftermath of the Tropical Storm Noel in Oct-Nov 2007 there was widespread damage to life and property in DR. Upon the official request of the Government of Dominican Republic, India donated the medicines as humanitarian assistance.
A classical dance exponent in the Dominican Republic received an ICCR scholarship in 2002 to attend a course in Mohiniyattam in Kalamandalam, Kerala. An exhibition on Gandhi was organized at the Global Foundation in May 2006 and in Colegio Mahatma Gandhi in September 2006.
‘Living Arts’ an ICCR sponsored Rajasthani Dance Troupe visited Dominican Republic from 2 – 7 October 2008. This was the first cultural visit at Government level.
An 8-member martial arts group “Hindustan Kalari Sangam” from Kerala sponsored by ICCR, performed two shows in Santo Domingo on November 8-9, 2010 in collaboration with the DR Government and the Dominican Ministry of Culture. Bilateral CEA was signed in August 2012. Indian Food Festivals were held in Santo Domingo in October 2013, March and October, 2014. The Directorate General of Cinema of DR organized Indian Film Festival on DR Television during April 2014 and from 11-23 August 2016. A Rajasthani folk dance troupe performed in DR in February 2015.
On 70th Anniversary of India’s Independence, the Embassy of India in collaboration with the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), organised a Food Festival from 6-10 August 2017 in Santo Domingo. Ministry of Culture, Government of India sponsored a 9-member Kathak dance group led by Ms. Shubhada Dubey and they performed on 12th August 2017 in Santo Domingo. In addition, Embassy also organized a Photographic Exhibition on the ‘Heritage Architecture of India’ in Santo Domingo from 7-27 August 2017.
Earlier, a 10-member Kathak group led by Ms. Shovana Narayan performed at Bellas Artes Theater, Santo Domingo, on 28th March 2017. The group was sponsored by ICCR.
The Indian community in DR with the support of the Indian Embassy in Havana have regularly celebrated International Day of Yoga including the latest edition on 21 June 2019 in Santo Domingo. DR has participated in a big way in celebration of 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Dominican artist Ms Xiomara Fortuna contributed with a musical video performing the “Vaishnava Jan tou” hymn. Cycling for Peace rally was organized on June 2 in Santo Domingo. In August 2019, a commemorative postal stamp in the honor of Mahatma Gandhi was released jointly by foreign Minister Miguel Vargas and Ambassador of India.
At present, there are about 44 Indian nationals and 10 People of Indian Origin (PIOs) living in the country. Some of them are working as engineers, software experts or representing Indian companies. Several businesspersons also form part of the community. Satya Sai Baba of Putthaparthy has a huge following in the Dominican Republic along with those of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living Foundation.