India-Haiti Bilateral Relations
India’s relations with Haiti have been friendly, though interaction between the two countries has been limited. India established diplomatic relations with Haiti on 27 September 1996. Our High Commission in Kingston, Jamaica was concurrently accredited to Haiti. Since late 2003, the accreditation has been transferred to Embassy of India, Havana. India has an Honorary Consul in Port-Au-Prince. Haiti appointed a Honorary Consul in New Delhi in October 2014.
An MOU for Foreign Office Consultations was signed on May 31, 2001. Even before the establishment of diplomatic relations, India had sent a 140 member CRPF troop to Haiti on a peace mission under the auspices of United Nations in August 1995. The role of the Indian contingent in providing police protection and maintaining law and order was highly appreciated.
In October 2008, a 140-member Formed Police Unit (FPU) from India joined the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) to help with international efforts to ensure a safe environment in Haiti. There have three units drawn from BSF, CISF and Assam Rifles (approx. 500 personnel) as part of MINUSTAH. The UN Security Council passed a Resolution in April 2017 to replace MINUSTAH in Haiti by a small Peacekeeping Mission, the UN Mission for Justice Support (MINUJUSTH) and gradually draw down the FPUs in Haiti. The last units of FPU stationed in Haiti left in July 2019 on completion of assignment.
The former Haitian Minister of Economy and Finance, Mme. Carmelle Jean Marie visited India from 14th-17th October, 2014 to attend FICCI-LAC Conclave and called on Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman, then Hon’ble Minister of State for Commerce & Industry and Secretary (ER). The former Haitian Health Minister, Dr. Marie L. Florence Duperwal visited Delhi to attend the “Third Global Call to Action Summit”, from 25-29 August, 2015. She also called on Minister of Health & Family Welfare where, inter alia, she sought India’s cooperation in Haitian health sector. Haiti sent a high level representation for participating in the 2nd ISA General Assembly in October 2019.
Dr. Shashi Tharoor, MOS External Affairs visited Haiti on 23 January 2010, in the midst of his official visit to Dominican Republic (DR) for an on the spot assessment of the situation following the devastating earthquake. Shri Vijay Sampla, MOS for Social Justice and Empowerment visited Haiti in April 2018 and met the President of Haiti, Mr. Jovenel Moïse.
At the multilateral level, Government of Haiti has supported Indian candidatures in the elections for various international organizations, including elections for ICJ, UNESCO,IMO and WCO in the recent past.
India’s trade with Haiti is small but Indian exports to the country have been growing in recent years Two way trade between the two countries was at USD 93.10 million by the end of 2018-19. The main items of exports to Haiti are pharmaceuticals goods, textiles, rubber products, cosmetics, and plastic and linoleum products. There is potential for further growth, particularly in the areas of drugs and pharmaceuticals. India has granted duty free access to Haitian products as a special gesture to a Least Development Country
India has been offering assistance to Haiti under ITEC programme. It started with one slot in 2006-2007, which has been increased to 10 in 2015-16, 25 in 2017-18 and 15 in 2018-19. Haitian diplomats have also been taking advantage of Professional Course for Foreign Diplomats (PCFD) courses at regular intervals. Four Haitian illiterate women received training at the Barefoot College in Rajasthan in harvesting solar power.
India donated medicines worth US $ 50,000/- as humanitarian assistance to Haiti for the damage caused by Hurricane Noel in November 2007. Another US $ 5 million relief assistance was given in January 2010. A relief of US $ 500,000 annually for three years till 2011 was also provided. MOS (ST), Dr. Shashi Tharoor, who visited Port-Au-Prince on 23 January, 2010, following the 12 January 2010 earthquake, announced the assistance. India also provided emergency financial aid of USD 2,50,000 to Haiti in the aftermath of Hurricane Mathew in October 2016.
Indian community in Haiti is small. It comprises approximately 70 members. Almost all of them are Indian passport holders. Several of them are professionals, – doctors, engineers, technicians. Some are into private businesses. There are a few priests and some 15-20 Sisters working for Sisters of Charity.