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Luxembourg-India Relations

Mrs. Sushma Swaraj with H.R.H. the Grand Duke

PM Bettel and PM Modi

Meeting of the Foreign Ministers

Seven decades of Friendship

In 2018, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Republic of India celebrated the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relations, which were established on 1 July 1948. Historically, Luxembourg and India have had very strong economic and trade relations, which led to the opening of a first Vice-Consulate of the Grand Duchy in Bombay in November 1929 to strengthen the already extensive cooperation in the steel sector. With the establishment of the Embassy of Luxembourg in New Delhi in February 2002, the political, trade, financial and cultural relations between both countries increased ever since.

The number of high-level visits over the years reflects the cordiality of these bilateral historical relations. Among these important visits, we wish to highlight the three-day State visit of the President of India Shri K.R. Narayanan in Luxembourg from 14 to 16 September 1998. More recent visits include the two-day visit of the late Minister of External Affairs of India, Smt. Sushma Swaraj, to Luxembourg from 19 to 20 June 2018 at the eve of the 70th anniversary. The Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, H.E. Mr. Jean Asselborn, visited New Delhi on his fourth official visit to India on 27 and 28 January 2020, where he had a bilateral meeting with the Minister of External Affairs, Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar among others.

Since many decades, Luxembourg and India have worked as partners in multilateral fora with shared values on democracy, the rule of law and climate change to name but a few areas of mutual understanding.     

Partners in trade and investment

Luxembourg and India are important trade and investment partners, which is also supported on an institutional level. The Joint Economic Commission (JEC) between the Belgium Luxembourg Economic Union (BLEU) and the Republic of India meet on a biannual basis to review the economic and trade relations between our countries. The last meeting of the JEC was held in in New Delhi in September 2019 and the 15th JEC took place in Luxembourg in May 2017. 

Many companies from Luxembourg have been “Making in India” for more than two decades and are very active on the Indian market. To name some of them, PAUL WURTH  has for instance equipped and built blast furnaces for all Indian steel producers throughout the country. ARCELOR MITTAL , with its global Headquarters in Luxembourg since the merger, is also increasing its presence in India, after having taken over Essar Steel and strengthening its production lines. With a presence in Karnataka and West Bengal, CERATIZIT  provides hard cutting materials for different industries and the greater South and South East Asian markets. The Luxembourg-Indian Joint Venture AMER-SIL KETEX  in West Bengal is producing highly sophisticated gauntlets for the automotive industry for South Asia. IEE  produces car seatbelt reminders, among others, and is expanding its presence in Pune. TRAXYS  is very active on the commodities and iron ore market and works with the main Indian steel producers. TRACTEL SECALT  based in Mumbai provides lifting facilities for building projects and the maintenance services for skyscrapers. Luxembourg and India are also working together in space as the Luxembourg company “Société Européenne de Satellites” ( SES ), the world leader in operational satellites, has partnered with ISRO for many years and is operating 5 satellites over India.

The main items in terms of trade in goods are machinery and mechanical appliances, electrical equipment and articles of base metal. The Luxembourgish company ROTAREX  for instance exports high performance valves, regulators and fittings for all gas applications serving its customers across various sectors including fire safety, automotive, oil and gas, energy and fertilizers in India. HITEC  has been exporting its carbon black products to the Indian automotive industry for two decades. The traditional Luxembourgish wine producer in its 5th Generation, BERNARD MASSARD , is also exporting its Crémants to India since 2019. BEJIMAC  exports machines and equipment to the Indian textile industry.  BOSON ENERGY  provides thermal treatment solutions that produce local clean energy from locally available fuels such as waste and biomass residue and has been selected for the Clean Ganga project.  SOLAR CLEANO  exports solar panel cleaning robots to the Indian market. There are more examples like this, which show that the trade relations between Luxembourg and India are very diverse.  

In 2020, as per the Indian Official Statistics, Luxembourg is the 15th Foreign Direct Investor in India compared to the 16th ranking in 2018.

The Luxembourg Stock Exchange  listed its first Masala bond in 2008 and in 2016 it launched the Luxembourg Green Exchange (LGX), the first platform in the world fully dedicated to issuing Green Bonds. The LGX is a perfect platform for to raise investments for sustainable and green projects.

The Grand Duchy is often seen as a European hub for setting up a company’s regional headquarters, primarily due to its central location and cosmopolitan population, which can speak fluently 3 languages, English, French and German, besides its national language Luxembourgish. Luxembourg has hence attracted a lot of interest from Indian companies, especially in the IT sector like TATA CONSULTANCY SERVICES, WIPRO, INFOSYS, TECH MAHINDRA, SYNCORDIS, DAMCO SOLUTIONS and QUANTUM BUSINESS ADVISORY to name just a few. It continues to do so and there is a growing potential for incubators and start-ups to join efforts together, especially in the Fintech sector, but not exclusively.

The Luxembourg Technoport for instance has an ongoing cooperation with the Kalinga Institute in Odisha and has taken part twice in the EU-India Partnership on Innovation, bringing together incubators from the EU and India.

NGO partnerships

A large number of NGOs from Luxembourg have partnerships and work with local partners in India, mostly in the fields of health, education and social work with a special focus on women and children. Among them are “Programme d’Aide et de Développement pour les Enfants du Monde » ( PADEM ), « Aide à l’Enfance de l’Inde et du Népal » ( AEIN ), ECPAT Luxembourg , Pharmaciens Sans Frontières , Entwecklung duerch gerechten Handel (EDGH), les Amis du Tibet, ASTM , IBISA  and Fondation Caritas Luxembourg .

Bust of Mahatma Gandhi

Bilateral cultural ties

Luxembourg and India also have strong cultural ties.

The modernist Indian artist Amar Nath Sehgal (1922-2007) had a very rich and long relationship with Luxembourg where he lived for more than two decades.

The artist left a remarkable heritage with numerous sculptures, paintings and drawings in private and public collections. Indian visitors will find the bust of Mahatma Gandhi created by Sehgal in the Municipal Park of the capital (photo).

Occasionally, he will be wearing a marigold wreath around his neck, which shows that Bapu is also revered by the growing Indian diaspora in Luxembourg.

The Indian actress and scientist, Niharica Raizada, born and raised in Luxembourg has acted in many “Bollywood” productions and likes to recall that “India taught her patience and Luxembourg taught her diversity”.

Every year we participate in many Film Festivals throughout India showing film productions or co-productions from Luxembourg.