India-Lebanon Bilateral Relations
Home > Bilateral Relations > India-Lebanon Bilateral Relations

India-Lebanon Bilateral Relations

                                    

 

1. India and Lebanon have historically enjoyed close and friendly relations. India established diplomatic relations with Lebanon in 1954. Shared commonalities include, besides cultural similarities, a democratic, parliamentary system of government based on a written constitution, basic freedoms and human rights; a market economy moving towards greater liberalization; a large pool of educated English-speaking professionals and entrepreneurs; and a vibrant global diaspora.

 

2. The fact that India kept its Embassy in Beirut open and functioning throughout the civil war from 1975 to 1990 [closing very briefly from 5 August to 16 October, 1989], in contrast to the Embassies of a large number of other countries, is greatly appreciated by the Lebanese, together with India’s traditionally strong linkages with the Arab world and our steadfast support for the Palestine cause. Both countries have also cooperated closely on various issues of mutual interest during their overlap in 2010 as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council.

 

 

Indian Community:

 

3. There are nearly 7,000 Indian nationals in Lebanon, with a majority of them employed as workers in companies, construction sector, agricultural farms, etc. The Embassy attaches highest priority to reaching out to the Indian community in an earnest, active, helpful and broad-based manner, and in ensuring their well being and welfare. In light of Covid-19 pandemic and the travel restrictions the Embassy facilitated three special community charter flights for repatriating Indians between June-August 2020.

 

Indian Battalion [INDBATT] in UNIFIL:

 

4. Indian Army personnel (INDBATT) have been deployed in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) since November, 1998. The INDBATT contingent currently consists of 779 personnel, but for the first time, Kazakh troops (120 personnel) are serving under the command of the Indian Battalion. With their utmost professionalism, INDBATT personnel are highly regarded for their sincere outreach to the local community and they have been able to win hearts and minds of the local community.

 

5. The following Indian Army Officers have held senior positions in the UNIFIL HQ:-

 

(i) Maj Gen Lalit Mohan Tiwari, Force Commander, 2002-04.

 

(ii) Brig G Athmanathan, Deputy Force Commander, 2000-01.

 

(iii) Brig JP Nehra, Deputy Force Commander, 2006-08.

 

(iv) Brig AK Bardalai, Deputy Force Commander, 2008-10.

 

(v) Brig Tarundeep Kumar, Deputy Force Commander, 2014-15.

 

(vi) Brig Sandeep Singh Bajaj, Deputy Force Commander, 2015-17.

 

 

6. Upon transfer of authority, Dogra Infantry Battalion Group took over charge in UNIFIL as Indian Battalion – XXI on 21 November, 2019. Colonel Narayan Singh Bhati assumed charge as Commanding Officer.

 

 

High level visits and invitations:

 

7. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, during his tenure as Prime Minister of India visited Lebanon in 1956 and 1960. Mr. E. Ahamed, Minister of State for External Affairs visited Lebanon in 2013. Mr. M.J. Akbar, the then Minister of State for External Affairs, Government of India visited Beirut in August, 2016 and had wide ranging discussions with the Lebanese side. Mr. Amar Sinha, then Secretary (Economic Relations), Ministry of External Affairs visited Lebanon in May, 2017. Mr. T.S. Tirumurti, Secretary (Economic Relations), MEA, also visited Lebanon in May, 2019. The Lebanese Minister of Agriculture Akram Chehayeb visited India in 2016.

 

8. Former Prime Minister of Lebanon, Mr. Fouad Siniora visited India at the invitation of IDSA in February 2020. During his visit he also met with External Affairs Minster Dr. S Jaishankar. External Affairs Minster Dr. S Jaishankar also had a telephonic conversation with the Foreign Minister of Lebanon, Mr. Nasif Hitti in April 2020 and reviewed the bilateral relations.

MOUs/Agreements

 

9. The status of MOUs/Agreements with Lebanon are as follows:

 

The MoU on holding FOC between India and Lebanon is under consideration.

MoUs for cooperation in Agriculture & Allied sectors is under consideration.

Cultural Exchange Agreement (signed in April 1997, ratified in February 2000, which is automatically renewed every 5 years).

MoU for an Educational Exchange Programme (signed in June 2013, valid for 5 years, to be automatically renewed every 5 years).

A draft MoU between our Ministry of AYUSH and the Lebanese Ministry of Health has been forwarded to the Lebanese side and their response is awaited.

 

 

India’s Humanitarian Assistance:

 

10. In the past, India provided $ 1 million ($500,000 in 2014 to Lebanon Humanitarian Fund and $500,000 in 2016 to Lebanon Response Fund) as part of India’s commitments made at the Pledging Conferences on Syria held in Kuwait in 2014 and 2015. In the aftermath of tragic explosions of August 4 in Beirut, Government of India provided 58 MT of medical, food and relief supplies to Lebanon on August 14. On 25 August, Ambassador handed over the consignment of medical aid, containing 70 boxes of PPEs, to Lebanon for its fight against Covid-19. The consignment was received by H.E. Hamad Hassan, Minister of Public Health of Lebanon.

 

 

Quick Impact Projects:

 

11. In 2019, Government of India undertook 3 Quick Impact Projects in the area of operations of INDBATT in Lebanon and completed in 2020. The Projects pertained to supply of generator set to Burghuz village, upgradation of Sardar Patel Complex for Sports and Culture for Kawkaba and renovation of Mahatma Gandhi Park at Ebel es Saki.

 

 

ITEC:

 

12. The Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation [ITEC] programme has been popular in Lebanon since its inception in 1964. Successive batches of ITEC trainees/alumni have been actively contributing to further strengthening India-Lebanon ties. India has offered 75 civilian ITEC slots and 25 defence slots to Lebanon for 2019-20.

 

13. A DSSC slot was offered to the Lebanese side in 2020. in light of Covid -19 pandemic most of the courses have moved online in 2020-21 and are available to the Lebanese candidates.

 

Economic and Commercial Relations:

 

14. Total volume of trade between India and Lebanon Jan-June 2019 was $ 181.00 million with Indian exports to Lebanon at $ $ 171.00 million and Indian imports from Lebanon at $ 10.00 million. Trade between India and Lebanon during July 2019 to June 2020 stands at $ 100.94 million with Indian exports to Lebanon at $ 89.39 million and Indian imports from Lebanon at $ 11.55 million. Main exports from India are machinery, textile articles, plastic, gemstones, etc., and imports from Lebanon are base metals and articles thereof, miscellaneous manufactured articles, etc. There is considerable potential of expanding trade and investment between the two countries.

 

15. Some Lebanese companies like M/s Khatib and Alamy, Future Pipes and Dar Al Handasah have businesses in India. An Indian company OEG has been operating two power plats in Lebanon in association with its partners.

 

16. The following business/ trade events were held during the period July – December 2019

 

SI

Name of the Event

Date

Description

i.

5th Edition of Advantage Healthcare India 2019

13 – 15 November, 2019

Organised by FICCI – delegation from Lebanon participated in cooperation with the Minister of Public Health and was headed by Advisor in the Ministry of Public Health.

ii.

FICCI Higher Education Summit 2019

 

27 – 29 November, 2019

Organized by FICCI – delegation from Lebanon participated representing many prominent universities in Lebanon.

 

Events during the period January to August 2020

 

SI

Name of the Event

Date

Description

i.

Indus Food

8 – 9 January 2020

Organized by Trade Promotion Council of India – TPCI, Delegation from Lebanon participated

ii.

Beirut Business Seminar

14 January 2020

Business Seminar, in association with ADLIR, on to promote Indian Business in Lebanon

Iii.

33rd Surajkund International Crafts Mela

1 – 15 February 2020

Delegation from Lebanon participated

iv.

Tripoli Business Seminar

20 February 2020

Business Seminar in cooperation with the Chamber Industry, Agriculture of Tripoli and North Lebanon to promote Indian Business

v.

Virtual Healthcare & Hygiene Expo 2020

DVC with EOI and FICCI and businesses from both the sides.

25 June, 2020

Focus:

a- Pharmaceuticals, Pharma Machinery & Technology

b-Medical devices

c- AYUSH & Wellness

d- Medical Textile

e- Hygiene & Sanitization

vi.

Web Buyer- Seller Meet in association with TPCI

13 July, 2020

11:00 a.m

Focus:

Food Sector

 

vii.

FIEO Virtual Conference on Trade and Investment opportunities between India & Lebanon

20 July, 2020

10:00 a.m

Focus:

Business Opportunities

 

 

Culture:

 

17. The Lebanese people have traditionally admired Indian music, films, cuisine, etc. An increasing number of them are also interested in Yoga – there has been a large and enthusiastic participation in the public events organized by the Mission to celebrate the IDY since 2015. Between 2016 and 2020 ICCR has deputed a dance teacher who trained many Lebanese youth in Indian dances and organized various events and dance workshops. Various cultural activities organized by the Mission in cooperation with universities and other local partners are extremely popular. Renowned Lebanese singer Abeer Nehme has rendered ‘Vaishnav Jan To’ to celebrate Gandhi Jayanti in Beirut and other places.

 

18. Commemorating the celebration of 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, ‘Liban Post’, the Department of posts of Lebanon issued a stamp on Mahatma Gandhi which was formally released by the Embassy on 1 October 2019.

 

Lebanese-Indian Friendship Fora:

 

19. The Embassy works closely with several local organizations, most notably Lebanese-Indian Friendship Parliamentary Committee [LIFPC] and the Association for Development of Lebanese-Indian Relations [ADLIR], in further strengthening people-to-people contacts and cooperation in diverse sectors.

 

*****

 

As updated on 08 October 2020

          

 

Bilateral Relations

Stay Connected

  • Facebook
  • Youtube
  • MEA Mobile App
  • Twitter

Queries/Feedback