Embassy of India
Brief on India-Georgia Bilateral Relations
India recognized Georgia's independence on 26th December 1991 and established formal diplomatic relations on 28th September 1992. Presently, there is no Indian Resident Mission in Georgia. Ambassador to Armenia with residence in Yerevan (Armenia) is concurrently accredited to Georgia. The Georgian side had first set up its Honorary Consulate in Delhi in 2005 which was upgraded to a fully fledged Embassy subsequently. The first Resident Ambassador of Georgia to India arrived in New Delhi on 25th February 2010. Mr. Girogi Margvelashvili was sworn-in as the new President of Georgia on 17 November 2013 in Tbilisi.
There is enough literary and folklore-based evidence to suggest that links between India and Georgia and awareness of India in Georgia have existed from very early times of human civilization. Fables from India's Panchtantra are believed to have influenced the Georgian folk legends. Those links were further strengthened in medieval ages by missionaries, travellers, and traders. Georgians are said to have served at the Mughal Courts and some of them are believed to have risen to the positions of Governors. The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb's wife Udaipuri Begum was of Georgian origin. Archeological investigations are at hand in pursuance of the Georgian conviction that the body of their Queen St. Ketevan (who attained martyrdom in 1624 in Shiraz, and has since been elevated to Sainthood) is buried in St. Augustine Tower in Goa (where the Portuguese had managed to transfer her body).
During the Soviet era, Prime Minister Pt. Nehru visited Tbilisi in 1955; Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi visited Tbilisi (1976). Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited Georgia (June 1978) as EAM.
The Georgian Foreign Minister Irakli Menagarishvili and EAM Shri Jaswant Singh met in New Delhi on 11 May 2000. During that visit, a Protocol on Foreign Office Consultations was concluded. This was the only high level political exchange at the bilateral level. Shri Parvez Dewan, Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, visited Tbilisi during 26-28 May 2012 to represent India at Georgia's first 'Day of Diaspora'. Mr. David Jalagania, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia, led the Georgian delegation to the first Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) was held (29-30 April 2014) in Delhi.
Cooperation at the International Fora
Georgia supported Indian candidatures at various international fora including International Civil Aviation Organization (ICA), Executive Board in the UNESCO and Membership of the Council of International Maritime Organization (IMO) in the year 2013, UNHRC in 2014, World Customs Organization in 2015. India supported Georgia's candidature in the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) in 2013.
Bilateral dialogue between India and Georgia is conducted through the mechanisms of Foreign Office Consultations (FOCs) which provide regular consultations at the level of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and other agreed levels on international, regional and bilateral issues of mutual interest. The Fourth Session of FOCs was held during 15-16 July 2013 in Tbilisi. JS [ERS] led the Indian delegation. He met the Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Economy and Agriculture. The consultations were focused on bilateral cooperation in all sectors of mutual interest and regional and international issues. Draft agreements on consular subjects were handed over to the Georgian side for examination.
The first Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) was held (29-30 April 2014) in Delhi. The Indian side was led by Secretary [West] Shri Khullar and the Georgian side was led by Mr. David Jalagania, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia. The IGC Session was followed by a Business Forum at FICCI at which presentations were made on trade and investment opportunities that exist in each country. A Memorandum of Understanding between the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Georgian Chamber of Commerce and (FICCI) Industry was signed to establish cooperation and friendship ties with the aim to promote mutually advantageous commercial and industrial interests.
Trade and Economic Cooperation
According to Indian statistics, the bilateral trade between the two countries is relatively modest and trade balance has always been in favour of India. According to GeoStat's statistics for 2014, total exports to India from Georgia stood at USD 10.7 mn and total imports from India to Georgia stood at USD 50.5 mn. Steel, infrastructure, agriculture farming and service sectors are among few sectors of large Indian investment in Georgia. Individual investors from India, mostly from Punjab (around 150) have acquired agricultural land for cultivation in Georgia at an average of 10 hectares per investor. However, only 5-10 have actually started active farming activity. TATA Power is the new Indian company to enter into Georgia with its investment (approx US$ 280 mn) jointly with other European investment majors in a power project worth US$700 mn.
The first ever visit by an Indian pharma delegation comprising 24 Indian pharmaceuticals companies to Georgia took place in February 2014, under the aegis of Pharmexcil. The delegation had useful B2B session and visited various pharmaceutical plants and laboratories in Georgia.
A 15-member ICCR sponsored Bollywood Dance & Music group 'Sugar N' Spice' gave a performance in Tbilisi on 18 September 2013. The event was organized by the Mission, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia. Around 500 people consisting of Georgian Deputy Minister of Culture, dignitaries and senior officials from various Ministries/Departments, Georgian nationals and friends of India, Indian community living in Georgia attended and enjoyed the dance performance by the Bollywood Group.
An "Indian Film Week" (21-24 March) commemorating 100 years of Indian Cinema was organized in Tbilisi's most centrally located cinema theatres. The event was organized by the Indian Embassy in partnership (partial financing) with the Georgian Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection and was staged in active coordination with the Indian Cultural Association 'Bharat'. The event was addressed by the Acting Minister of Culture and the Deputy Foreign Minister.
A 'Gandhi Foundation Georgia' was launched in Tbilisi on 30th June, 2014 at the Institute of Multi Task Diplomacy in Tbilisi with the co-operation by Gandhi Foundation, India. A seminar dedicated to 'non-violence' and 'Jan Satyagraha' was organized by this institute in which representatives of Canadian and Indian Gandhi Foundation had given lectures. The Foundation has also opened its branch in the second important city Batumi and has been actively involved in organizing various programmes propagating Gandhi's philosophy of 'Truth and Non-Violence' in Georgia.
A group of Georgian artists comprising dancers and singers performed at the 'annual Surajkund Mela' [1-15 Feb] in Haryana.
The first International Day of Yoga was celebrated in Tbilisi on 21 June 2015 in which over 200 people participated. The Georgian side was represented by the Deputy Mayor of Tbilisi.
Incredible India - Tourism Seminar
The first ever India Tourism Seminar "Incredible India" was organized on 26 September 2014 in Tbilisi (Georgia) by the Embassy together with the Regional Office of M/o Tourism of India in Frankfurt. A total of 62 Georgian tour operators participated in the seminar. Power Point presentations on Incredible India and Visa Policy of the Government of India were made during the Seminar.
Mr. Taher, Superintending Archaeologist of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), visited Georgia to attend the International Council of Museums' Conference held during 22-24 September 2014.
India's Development/Capacity Building Assitance
15 ITEC slots have been allotted to Georgia in 2015-16. ICCR Scholarships are offered to Georgian nationals to pursue undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Indian Universities and Kendriya Hindi Sansthan scholarships to study Hindi in India.
The Indian community in Georgia consists of students, businessmen, agricultural farmers and workers. Since 2012, their number has been considerably increasing and at present there are around 2000 Indians living in Georgia. This figure also includes 700 students at the Tbilisi State Medical University and about 200 Indian nationals working for Indian companies which are engaged in the infrastructure sector in Georgia. No incident of ethnic violence against the Indian community has come to Mission's notice. Indian films and food are popular in Georgia; there are four Indian Restaurants in Tbilisi. Interest in learning Hindi is palpable. The India-Georgia Cultural Association 'Bharat' is engaged in promoting Indian culture; it is coordinating Hindi classes in Tbilisi.