India and Slovenia Strengthen Bilateral Ties Through 9th Foreign Office Consultations
On January 6th, 2023, the 9th India-Slovenia Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) were held in Ljubljana, marking the first physical FOC since 2010. The Indian delegation was led by Sanjay Verma, Secretary (West) of the Ministry of External Affairs and the Slovenian delegation was led by Mr Samuel Žbogar, State Secretary for Political and Multilateral Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia.
The two countries, who are celebrating 30 years of diplomatic relations, discussed various sectors such as agriculture, health, S&T, defence, space, migration and mobility, climate innovation and renewable energy to strengthen bilateral ties, and also exchanged views on regional and global issues.
Secretary (West) also met with key members of Slovenian parliamentary and business communities, and both sides agreed to hold the next FOC in India in 2024.
India and Slovenia have a strong and long-standing bilateral relationship, which has been marked by regular exchanges at both the political and official levels. Both countries have shared a deep mutual interest in a wide range of areas, including trade, culture, education and defence, and have been working closely to strengthen and deepen the ties between them.
The two countries first established diplomatic relations in 1992, and since then, the relationship has grown from strength to strength. Both countries have shared a common interest in promoting mutual cooperation in various areas, and this has been reflected in the growing trade and economic ties between them. In recent years, trade and economic activities between India and Slovenia have been fast regaining pre-Covid levels, despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.
Trade and Investments
India and Slovenia have a growing trade and investment relationship, which has been marked by an increase in bilateral trade and a growing interest from Indian companies to invest in Slovenia. India’s overall exports, covering commodities and services for the financial year 2021-22 were reported at US$ 676.25 billion, an increase of over 37% over FY 2020-21.
The major Indian exports to Slovenia include textiles, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and machinery.
Slovenia, on the other hand, exports a variety of goods to India such as chemicals, wooden products, and automotive parts. Additionally, Slovenia has been positioning itself as a hub for green technology and environmental innovations, which aligns well with India’s focus on renewable energy and sustainable development. The two countries have been working together to encourage mutual investment in these fields and to support the development of new technologies to increase efficiency and sustainability.
In recent years, there has been a growing interest from Indian companies to invest in Slovenia, particularly in the areas of information technology, biotechnology, and renewable energy. Indian companies such as Tata Consultancy Services, Tech Mahindra, and Wipro have set up operations in Slovenia and have been actively collaborating with Slovenian companies to develop new technologies and expand their businesses.
Furthermore, India has been actively seeking to increase its trade and economic ties with the European Union, and Slovenia, as a member of the EU, has been identified as a key partner for India in this regard. The re-launch of Free Trade Agreement negotiations and connectivity partnership between India and the EU were acknowledged as key drivers for furthering economic relations at bilateral and India-EU levels.
One of the key areas of cooperation between India and Slovenia has been in the field of agriculture. India and Slovenia have been working closely to strengthen agricultural ties and have been actively promoting cooperation in areas such as seed production, animal husbandry, and organic farming. They have also been working together to encourage mutual investment in the agricultural sector and to support the development of new technologies to increase crop yields and improve the livelihoods of farmers.
Another area of cooperation between the two countries has been in the field of health. India and Slovenia have been working together to share knowledge and expertise in the fields of healthcare, medical research, and public health, in order to address common health challenges such as non-communicable diseases and the spread of infectious diseases. The two countries have also been collaborating to establish research partnerships, to promote the development of new drugs and therapies, and to improve the accessibility of healthcare services for all.
Science and Technology
In addition, the two countries have also been working together to strengthen ties in the field of science and technology. India and Slovenia have been actively promoting cooperation in areas such as renewable energy, clean technologies, and the development of new technologies to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of various sectors. They have also been collaborating to establish research partnerships and to support the development of new technologies to address global challenges such as climate change and environmental degradation.
Defence and Space
Defense and space are also key areas of cooperation between India and Slovenia, and the two countries have been working together to strengthen military-to-military ties and to promote collaboration in the field of defense and aerospace technologies. They have also been actively promoting cooperation in areas such as peacekeeping and peace-building operations, and have been working together to enhance the interoperability of their armed forces.
Cooperation on Regional and Global issues
India and Slovenia have been actively working to promote cooperation on regional and global issues, such as Afghanistan, Ukraine, the Indo-Pacific, the European Union, United Nations, climate action, India’s G20 Presidency and International Year of Millet 2023. The re-launch of Free Trade Agreement negotiations and connectivity partnership between India and the EU were acknowledged as key drivers for furthering economic relations at bilateral and India-EU levels.
The India-Slovenia relationship is marked by a strong commitment to cooperation and mutual understanding, and the two countries have been working closely to strengthen and deepen ties in a wide range of areas.
The 9th India-Slovenia Foreign Office Consultations held on 06 January 2023 in Ljubljana provided an opportunity to review the progress made in the bilateral ties in the last one year despite the restrictions imposed by the Covid-pandemic. Both sides discussed the way forward in crucial sectors such as Agriculture, Health, S&T, Defense, Space, Migration and Mobility, Climate innovation and Renewable energy.
The two sides looked forward to holding the next FOC in 2024 in India, and this shows the commitment of both countries to continue strengthening their relationship in the years to come.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team