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India and Mali have traditionally maintained friendly relations and have no geo-political conflicts. The Government of India established its Embassy in Bamako in May 2009. Mali followed soon by opening its Embassy in New Delhi in August 2009. During the political and security crisis in Mali and consequent upon a military coup in March 2012, India strongly supported efforts for restoration of constitutional order in Mali and preservation of its territorial integrity. India also contributed US$ 1 million for strengthening of Malian forces at the Donors Conference held in Addis Ababa. Now that democratic order has been restored since September 2013, Government of India, while welcoming the development, has reiterated its willingness to further strengthening its development cooperation partnership with Mali. India has consistently opposed colonialism and liberally extended developmental assistance under various schemes to Mali over the years. Mali too has been supportive of India’s line on various international issues. The Government of Mali acknowledges India’s contribution and looks forward to further strengthening its relationship with India. Both the countries have identified terrorism as a grave threat to peace and prosperity and agree to cooperate at bilateral, regional and multi-lateral level to combat this menace.
Some Bilateral Legal Instruments between Mali and India:
1. Protocol on Foreign Office Consultations (2009)
2. Agreement on Political, Economic, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Cooperation (2009)
3. MOU on Cooperation in Geology and Mineral Resources (2012)
4. Cultural Exchange Programme (September 2016)
5. MOU on Standards between the Bureau of Indian Standards and Direction Nationale De Industries, Mali (September 2016)
Officials Bilateral Visits:
At the invitation of the Prime Minister of Republic of Mali Hon’ble Vice President of India (HVPI) Shri M. Hamid Ansari visited Mali from 29-30 September 2016. On this first ever high-level visit from India, Vice President was accompanied by Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal, Hon’ble Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, three members of Parliament and senior officials.
Minister of State for External Affairs, Mr. MJ Akbar visited Mali on a bilateral official visit from March 2-3, 2017. During his visit to Mali, he co-chaired the first ever Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) between India and Mali along with the Foreign Minister of Mali H.E Mr. Abdoulaye Diop.
The President of the Republic of Mali, accompanied by a high-level delegation, including several Ministers and high-level officials, attended the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS-III) in October 2015 at the invitation of the Indian Prime Minister.
The President of the Republic of Mali also attended the founding Summit of International Solar Alliance (ISA), held in New Delhi, in March 2018. On this occasion, he met the Prime Minister H.E Narendra MODI
The First Lady of Mali had earlier visited India in August 2015 to attend the Global ‘Call to Action Summit 2015’. She also briefly met the Prime Minister during that visit.
The volume and value of bilateral trade between the two countries is not very high. However, it has steadly grown in past few years. During the year 2015-2016, the bilateral trade figured reached to US $ 350.72 millions which was 64.87 percent more than the previous year. Mali can make immense use of Indian expertise in sectors such as power, communications, IT, education, mining, agriculture, automobile and pharmaceuticals etc. It is amongst the poorest countries in the world, heavily reliant on external aid. Gold, livestock and agriculture account for almost 85% of Mali’s exports. In monetary terms, the value of Indian exports to Mali was 0.04% of India’s total global export, whereas Indian imports from Mali were 0.06% of India’s total global import during 2015-2016. Mali has a liberal and friendly investment and trade policy. Tremendous investment opportunities exist in the field of agriculture (cotton, food processing, abattoirs and tanneries), automobiles (two-wheeler segment), mining (gold, iron ore, phosphates, uranium, bauxite, zinc, manganese, tin and copper) and pharmaceuticals (generic drugs). The country has proven existence of other minerals like granite, gypsum, kaolin, limestone, lithium, rock salt, silver, etc. waiting to be exploited.
Indian exports to Mali:
Equipment for electricity transmission, cotton fabrics and made-ups, cycle parts, machinery, machine parts, transport equipment, drugs and pharmaceuticals, construction material and processed food items.
Malian exports to India:
Raw cotton wood products and some agricultural products like shea nuts. Mali looks forward to further infrastructural and human resource developmental aid from India, especially in the mining, power, agricultural, pharmaceuticals, engineering and educational sectors.
Indian Investments in Mali:
Indian commodities, pharmaceutical and light engineering products have a significant presence in this country that otherwise has abundance of Chinese/EU products. Indians in Mali are engaged primarily in business, mining, power, steel, cement, pharmaceuticals and agro industry sectors. Additionally, Indian companies also have presence in execution of Lines of Credit (LoC)-related activities in Mali - power transmission, agricultural and food processing etc.
Both the countries have rich cultural heritage that could be shared with cultural exchange visits. Bollywood movies, Indian television serials and Indian attires are popular amongst the populace and an average Malian appears to hold India in high esteem. A 2-member cultural delegation visited India during the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS-III) for a musical performance and received great appreciation. Perhaps the only notable, but remote, link between Mali and India is the famed city of Timbuktu. For a distant Indian, Timbuktu in Mali is a legendry place at the supposed end of the world. In reality, however, this city, located on the southern edge of the Sahara desert, has historically been a simmering commercial, educational and cultural hub for centuries. The Mission celebrated Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) along with Republic Day 2016 at the Chancery. The Mission celebrated 125th Birth Anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar on 14 April 2016 at the Chancery. Chef de Cabinet of the Minister of Sports of Mali was the Chief Guest at the 2nd International Day of Yoga (IDY-2016) celebration at Centre International de Conference de Bamako (CICB) on 26 June 2016. A Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) between India and Mail has been signed in September 2016. In March 2017, India donated USD 0.5 million for the reconstruction of the world heritage of Timbuktu which was announced by Hon’ble Vice President of India during his visit to Mali in Sept 2016.