India and Lithuania
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भारतकाराजदूतावास, वार्सा

Embassy of India, Warsaw

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India-Lithuania Bilateral Brief

Political Relations:

It is widely acknowledged that there is a close similarity between the Lithuanian and Sanskrit languages, Lithuanian being the Indo-European language grammatically closest to Sanskrit, signifying possible close ancient links. Until conversion to Christianity in 13th century, the people in Lithuania worshipped nature and had a trinity of gods - Perkunas, Patrimpas, and Pikuolis. In more recent times, the first direct knowledge about India reached Lithuania through Lithuanian Christian missionaries who started serving in India since the 16th century. One of the prominent Lithuanian philosophers and ideologists of the 19th century national movement, Vydunas (real name VilhelmasStorost, 1868-1953; also known as the Mahatma Gandhi of Lithuania) was extremely interested in Indian philosophy and he even created his own philosophical system closely based on the Vedanta. He practised Ayurveda. He argued that before the introduction of Christianity, Lithuanian spiritual culture had a lot of similarities with Hinduism, including the concept of Trinity.

Diplomatic Relations:

India recognized Lithuania (along with the other Baltic States of Latvia and Estonia) on 7th September 1991 after acceptance of their independence by the erstwhile USSR. Diplomatic relations were established with Lithuania on 25th February 1992. Lithuania opened its Embassy in New Delhi on July 1, 2008 and has Honorary Consuls in Mumbai and in Bengaluru. An Honorary Consul of India in Vilnius has been in operational since October 2014.

Bilateral Visits:

Hon’ble Vice-President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu paid an official visit to Lithuania from August 17-19 2019, leading a high level delegation including Shri Sanjay Dhotre, Minister of State for HRD, Communications, Electronics and IT and three Members of Parliament - Shri Ramesh Bidhuri, Shri ManasRanjanBhunia and SmtRaneeNarah. This was the first high level visit from India to Lithuania since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1992 .During the visit, HVP held delegation level talks with the PresidentNausedaand met the Prime Minister and the Speaker of Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas). The HVP addressed, the Indo-Lithuanian Business Meeting and members of the Indian community, at a Community Reception hosted by Ambassador. Three MOU’s, namely, cultural exchange programme (CEP), agricultural work plan and exchange of protocol for implementing the extradition treaty were signed during the visit.

 The 8th Foreign Office Consultations with Lithuania were held in Vilnius on 5 March 2019. The Indian side was led by Shri A.GiteshSarma Secretary (West) and the Lithuanian side by their Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Darius Skusevicius. The last round was held in New Delhi in November 2016.

A delegation led by the Minister of State for External Affairs, Shri M.J. Akbar, visited Lithuania in May 2017 in commemoration of 25th anniversary of bilateral relations.

On the sidelines of Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Ulaanbaatar, the Hon’ble Vice President held a bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of Lithuania, AlgirdasButkevičius, on 16 July 2016 and discussed bilateral cooperation, situation in Europe and Brexit.

MoS for Agriculture, Shri MohanbhaiKundariya, visited Lithuania in October 2015, for the unveiling of a sculptural composition of Mahatma Gandhi and his Lithuanian friend, Hermann Kallenbach.

MoS for External Affairs, Mrs. Preneet Kaur, visited Vilnius in March 2011. She again visited Vilnius in July 2011 to attend a Ministerial meeting of the Community of Democracies (COD).

Earlier visits from India include - Shri Salman Khurshid, MoS (External Affairs) in August 1995; Shri Rao Inderjit Singh, MoS (External Affairs) in October, 2005 and Shri Anand Sharma, MoS (External Affairs) in March 2007. Shri Rao Inderjit Singh, MoS, met with Foreign Minister AntanasValionis and Deputy Speaker GintarasSteponavicius. Shri Anand Sharma, MoS (External Affairs) paid an official visit in March 2007.

From Lithuania, the major bilateral visits to India include: (i) Prime Minister AdolfasSlezevicius in September 1995. (ii) State Visit by President ValdasAdamkussit in February 2001, accompanied by his wife, as also by the Foreign Minister AntanasValionis and a delegation of Lithuanian businessmen. During the visit, three bilateral agreements were signed.

The Foreign Minister of Lithuania, Mr. VygaudasUšackas, visited India in December 2009 accompanied by the Minister of Economy and a 30-member business delegation. Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ms. AstaSkaisgirytėLiauškienė, visited India in November 2011 and met Secretary (West).

The Foreign Minister of Lithuania, Mr. Linas Linkevicius, visited New Delhi to attend the 11th ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (ASEM FMM11) in November 2013. He met EAM on the sidelines of the meeting. The two Ministers signed an agreement on exemption from visa requirement for holders of Diplomatic Passports.

The Lithuanian Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. MantvydasBakevius, visited India in November 2014. Lithuanian vice Minister of Education and Science, Mr. RimantasVaikus, visited India from November 28 to December 1, 2014. MoS (VKS) met Lithuanian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, AndriusKrivas, on the sidelines of Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies (COD) in Sal Salvador on July 23, 2015.

The Lithuanian Minister of Culture, SarunasBirutis, visited New Delhi on 8-12 March 2016, to attend the World Culture Festival. During the visit, the Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) for 2016-18 was signed by him on 11 March 2016 along with our Minister of Culture.

The Lithuanian vice Minister of Agriculture, SauliusJakimavičius, visited New Delhi on 18-20 July 2016 and held discussions with the Shri SudarshanBhagat, MoS, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. An MoU on Cooperation in Agriculture and Allied Sector was signed by the two Ministers on 19 July 2016.

The Lithuanian Foreign Minister, Linas Linkevicius, visited New Delhi in October 2017, on his second visit to India, in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations.

Bilateral Agreements

The following Agreements have been signed between India and Lithuania:

  • Agreement on Trade and Economic Co-operation signed in July 1993.
  • Protocol on Bilateral Consultations between the two Foreign Offices signed on 31 August 1995.
  • Memorandum of Understanding on Air Services signed between Government of India and Government of Lithuania on 10th November 1999 in New Delhi.
  • Agreement on Air Services signed on 20th February 2001 in New Delhi.
  • Agreement on Cooperation in Spheres of Culture, Science and Education signed on 20th February 2001 in New Delhi.
  • Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation signed on 20th October 2001in Delhi.
  • Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPA): signed during MOS(PK)'s visit to Lithuania in March, 2011.
  • Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation (DTAA) was signed in New Delhi on July 26, 2011.
  • Agreement on the exemption from visa requirement for holders of diplomatic passports was signed in New Delhi on 10 November 2013.
  • Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) for the years 2016-18: signed during visit by the Lithuanian Minister of Culture to New Delhi (March 2016)
  • MoU on Agriculture and Allied Sector: signed during visit by the Lithuanian Vice Minister of Agriculture to New Delhi (July 2016).
  • Extradition Treaty: signed during visit by the Lithuanian Foreign Minister to New Delhi & Mumbai (October 2017)
  • Protocol amending the Bilateral Air Services Agreement signed during visit by the Lithuanian Foreign Minister to New Delhi & Mumbai (October 2017)
  •  Work Plan for 2019-2022 on Cooperation in Agriculture and Related Fields( August 2019)
  • Cultural Exchange Programme for 2019-2021 ( August 2019)
  •  Protocol on Exchange of Instruments of Ratification of the Treaty on Extradition ( August 2019)

Commercial Relations

An Indo-Baltic Chamber of Commerce (IBCC) was formed in Vilnius in 2009 while an India-Lithuanian Forum was inaugurated in September 2010.

The bilateral trade between India and Lithuania was US$339.51 million in 2018-19 according to Indian statistics.

Major items of import from India include pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, textiles and consumer goods. Major items of export to India include machinery and mechanical appliances, high tech optical instruments, base metals and articles of base metal, chemicals, sulphur, lime and cement.

An Investment of about US$200 million has been made by Indorama, a Lohia Group company, from their Thailand branch, in the Klaipeda Economic Zone in a plant to manufacture plastic resin. This investment has given visibility to India in Lithuania. It is the largest single line PET resin plant in Europe with lowest carbon footprint.HCL Technologies (HCL) announced in December 2018 an expansion of its strategic relationship with Barclays, including Barclays’ preferred partner for IT infrastructure services.  As part of the deal, HCL took over Barclays Operations Centre in Lithuania whichseeks to start a new era of technology centres in Lithuania. HCL Technologies Lithuania UAB, a 100% subsidiary of HCL Technologies Ltd., and engaged in business consulting, solution implementation and ongoing application management, started its operation in August  2016 and in 2019, had a major growth push to add additional 350 employees taking the overall headcount to 550 employees in Lithuania. About 60% of the headcount comprises of Lithuanian nationals and the remaining 40% from different nationalities both from within and outside of the EU.

Cultural Relations

Study of Indian languages (mainly Hindi and Sanskrit) has been carried out at the Vilnius University for several decades. A separate centre of Indian studies, under the Department of Oriental Studies, was set up in the Vilnius University in 1996.

Lithuanians have great interest in Indian cultural traditions, including Yoga. More than 70% Lithuanians visiting India have spiritual and yogic interests. There is special interest in Ayurveda. The Kaunas Ayurveda Centre arranges lectures on Ayurveda. The ISKON Movement has a very active temple in Kaunas.

ITEC

Under the Indian Technical and Economic Co-operation Programme (ITEC), since 1993, over 250 Lithuanian nominees have attended various courses in diplomacy, English, banking, mass communications, financial management, urban development management, IT, auditing etc. The Lithuanian leadership at the highest level has expressed appreciation for the ITEC programme.

Visas

  The Embassy of India in Warsaw issued 276 visas while nearly 1105 Lithuanian nationals availed of e-visa in the year 2018. A total of 1381 visas were issued to Lithuanian Nationals to visit India in 2018.

Indian Community

The Indian community is around 1000, majority of whom are students. Over the last few years, some Indian IT experts have come to Lithuania to work on IT projects.

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July 2019