INDIA and Zimbabwe have enjoyed a strong and enduring relationship for centuries. Dating back to the days of the Munhumutapa Kingdom, Indian merchants established extensive trade networks with Zimbabwe, exchanging goods such as textiles, minerals and metals. The sons of the royal house of Munhumutapa travelled to India to gain further education.
During the 17th century, one of Zimbabwe’s most remarkable figures, Dom Miguel, a prince, priest, and professor and heir to the imperial throne of the Mutapas, resided in Goa, India. A commemorative pillar, which still stands today in a chapel in Goa, pays tribute to his intellectual stature and contributions to the mutual enrichment of the cultures of Zimbabwe and India. This is a testament to the deep cultural ties that exist between these two nations, which have endured for generations.
History of ties
India and Zimbabwe have a long history of diplomatic relations that dates back to Zimbabwe’s struggle for independence in the 1970s. India supported Zimbabwe’s freedom struggle, and the two countries have since enjoyed close bilateral ties in various fields, including trade, investment, education, and cultural exchanges.
Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s attendance at Zimbabwe’s independence celebrations in 1980 marked the beginning of a strong relationship between the two countries. There were frequent high-level visits and exchanges until 1996, with both countries attending important summits such as NAM, CHOGM, and G15. India’s former Prime Ministers, Atal Vihari Vajpaee, Narasimha Rao, and HD Deve Gowda, and former Presidents, R Venkataraman and SD Sharma, all visited Zimbabwe to attend important events.
Trade & investment
The First Foreign Office Consultation (FOC) between India and Zimbabwe was held in March 2017, covering various areas such as political, economic, trade, investment, cultural, consular, and developmental cooperation. In September 2022, both countries held another FOC in New Delhi, where both sides expressed their desire to advance their partnership in various areas, including trade and investment, development partnership, defence, agriculture, health, and railways.
Trade between India and Zimbabwe currently stands at around $200 million, with Indian companies investing approximately $500 million in Zimbabwe. India has also provided five lines of credit to Zimbabwe and established a vocational training centre.
India and Zimbabwe have a long history of cultural relations, marked by several agreements and events that have strengthened their mutual understanding and cooperation. In November 2018, during the visit of the Vice-President of India to Zimbabwe, an MoU on cooperation in the field of arts, culture and heritage was signed, renewing the 1 981 agreement.
The Government of India has been actively promoting cultural exchanges between the two countries, sponsoring visits of Zimbabwean delegations to participate in the Surajkund International Crafts Mela.
The Indian Embassy in Zimbabwe has been organising cultural festivals to showcase the diversity and richness of Indian culture. Three editions of the ‘India in the Sunshine City’ cultural festival were organised in association with the Ministry of Youth, Sports, Arts & Recreation of Zimbabwe, and Team Work Arts, India, from 2016 to 2018.
The Indian Embassy in Zimbabwe has also been celebrating the International Day of Yoga in several cities of Zimbabwe every year in June. On October 2, 2021, the embassy celebrated the 152nd birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi by unveiling his bust in association with the Hindu Society of Harare.
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