ALGIERS- The Indian Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs Shri V. Muraleedharan will pay, on September 15 – 17, 2021, an official visit to the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria. This will be his first visit to the country, according to a communiqué issued by the Indian Embassy in Algeria.
During the visit, the Indian Minister will call on the Prime Minister, Mr. Aimene Benabderrahmane and will hold talks with Foreign Minister, Mr. Ramtane Lamamra and other dignitaries on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest. He will also interact with the Indian community in Algeria during the visit.
Algeria and India maintain solid relations of fraternity and friendship drawn from a long common militant journey. Their Diplomatic relations were established in 1962, the year Algeria became independent from colonial rule from France. Since then, relations between the two countries have been cordial. The two nations support each other on vital issues at bilateral and multilateral levels. Presidential visits have been consistently paid to further boost cooperation and coordination. To wit;
Gandhi paid a working visit to Algeria in 1973, Shri Rajiv Gandhi visited, in June 1985, Algeria as well and, in turn,the President of Algeria Chadli Bendjedid visited India in 1982, 1983 and 1987. Former President Bouteflika, for his part, visited India on 24-29 January 2001 as the Chief Guest at the Republic Day Celebrations. Besides these visits, many Minister-level and official-level visits were undertaken by both the countries.
In 2019, the-then Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel paid a working visit to India, during which a range of bilateral agreements to strengthen the legal framework for cooperation between the two countries; Cultural Exchange Program and Visa Waiver Agreement for Diplomatic and Official Passport holders were signed.
As long as bilateral agreements are concerned, the following are some agreements inked by both sides:
1. Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement in January 2001 to avoid double taxation and prevent fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and on capital with a view to promoting economic cooperation between the countries.
2. Phytosanitary Agreement signed in January 2001 to establish cooperation in the field of quarantine and protection of natural vegetation, to protect the cultures of their respective countries against diseases and destructive agents susceptible of being transported by products for consumption or re-production.
3. Veterinary Sanitation Protocol signed in January 2001 to enhance cooperation between the veterinary authorities of the two countries to facilitate commercial exchanges (import, export and transit) of the animals and animal based products and to preserve their respective territories from eventual epizootie, parasitic diseases of animals and zoonosis infections for human beings.
4. Air Service Agreement signed in 2000 to improve connectivity between the two countries.
5. Agreement between Press Trust of India and Algerian Press Service signed in October 2003 to promote cooperation and professional interaction between the two countries.
6. Agreement on Cooperation in Small and Medium-scale Enterprises signed in October 2003.
7. Cultural Exchange Programme signed in October 2003 to strengthen the cultural relations between the two countries.
8. MoU of Foreign Office Consultations was signed in October 2000.
9. A Parliamentary Friendship Group with India in Algerian Parliament was formed in April 2008.
Government of India had committed an assistance of US$ 1 million as humanitarian assistance for the victims of the earthquake, which struck Algeria in May 2003. Medicines worth half a million US dollars were handed over in April 2004 and the balance in the form of construction steel for the houses for the victims was handed over in October 2006. Indian
Space Agency launched the Algerian Satellite Alsat 2A into the orbit in July 2010.
Government of Algeria appreciated in writing, the support of India to remove Tipaza (a historical site about 100 kms from Algiers) from the danger list of the World Heritage Committee during UNESCO meeting in August 2006.
Algeria supported the non-permanent membership if UNSC for India during 2010.
For the military cooperation, the Algerian defense personnel regularly participate in the courses in India every year.
On another level, and under the Cultural Exchange Programme between the two countries, different cultural troupes from both countries were sent to participate in a range of cultural event, such as; the India-Africa Forum Summit held in New Delhi, Indian Painting Exhibition ‘Women by Women’, Deserts People Festival in Algeria, Algerian films in New Delhi, Tlemcen Cultural Capital of the Islamic World” etc…
Besides, under the Indian Foreign Affairs Ministry’s initiative “Bharat – Ek Parichay – Sharing knowledge with the world”, Embassy of India in Algeria contributed, in 2018, various books on Indian art, culture and values to the Algiers University 1 and 2 libraries for use by students. This step aims at enhancing connection between both peoples and better understanding of India.
Economically, and more recently, State-owned company Sonatrach has inked a $1 billion contract with India’s Larsen & Toubro to build plants to produce 11 million cubic metres of gas per day.
In this vein, the Algerian limited liability Company (LLC) LD Azouaou and Indian Group Mahindra Mahindra LTD sealed an agreement, in 2018, in the province of Tizi-Ouzou to create a joint venture to assemble farm tractors.
Indian-Algerian cooperation cover different other spheres, including space. In 2016, Satich Dahwan Space Center’s lancher PSLV C-35 put into orbite 8 satellites including three Algerian ones Alsat-1B, Alsat-2B and Alsat-1N.
In 2018, the governments of Algeria and India have inked a co-operation agreement in the fields of science, technology and space applications. The two parties sealed, in September 2006, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on co-operation in training. This cooperation enabled 20 Algerian engineers to attend Master’s degree courses in space applications and advanced training in space telecommunications and geo-information.
This co-operation also assisted in the successful launch of Algerian satellites Alsat-2A on July 10, 2010, and Alsat-1B, Alsat-2B and Alsat-1N on Sept 26, 2016, and the participation of Algerian engineers in the satellite preparation and launch phases.
Bilateral trade between India and Algeria was valued at US$ 1.39 billion in 2020-21. A number of Indian companies are operational in different sectors in Algeria. The visit is expected to provide fresh impetus to the bilateral ties.
In 2021, Algeria has signed a contract with an Indian laboratory which produces the AstraZeneca vaccine for the purchase of 800,000 doses. Other doses followed ؤonsecutively.
Regarding parliamentary relationship, “Algeria-India” parliamentary friendship group was installed, last year in Algiers, under the presidency of the vice-Speaker of the People’s National Assembly (APN), Boualem Bousmaha, in the presence of the president of the Commission for Foreign Affairs, cooperation and the community abroad, Abdelkader Abdellaoui as well as the-then Indian Ambassador in Algiers, Satbir Singh and a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
This installation is seen as an important space to realize closer rapprochement and cooperation with India, a friendly country, and to translate the ‘major interest granted by Algeria to parliamentary diplomacy as a vector of official one (diplomacy ). This approach is part of the reform project that the President of the Republic, Mr. Abdelmadjid Tebboune is working to concretize with a view to building a new Republic and a promising Algeria, faithful to its principles and commitments.