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2nd Foreign Office Consultations Held Between India and Burundi 

On December 12, 2023 the 2nd Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) were held between India and Burundi in Bujumbura. Shri Puneet R. Kundal, Additional Secretary (East and Southern Africa), represented India and met his Burundian counterpart, Ambassador Ernest Niyokindi, Director General of Bilateral Relations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Burundi. During the meeting, both sides reviewed a range of issues concerning bilateral affairs, including political exchanges, trade and economic matters, development partnerships, and consular issues. They also discussed areas of cooperation like agriculture, health, education, digital technology, renewable energy, and the possibility of cooperation in new areas too. Multilateral issues of mutual interest were also discussed, including cooperation with the United Nations (UN).

History of India-Burundi Relations:

The bilateral relations between India and Burundi date back a long time. They have mostly been marked by developmental assistance and capacity-building initiatives offered by the Indian government to Burundi. The latter, for its part, has also shown complete support for India’s claim to full membership in an expanded UN’s Security Council (UNSC). Since then, there have been several high-level visits between officials and dignitaries from both nations for political and economic engagements. Especially since 2012, the relations between the two nations have been premised on an Agreement on Bilateral Cooperation where support is mutually granted on the avenues of diplomatic relations, granting of scholarships, exchanges of visits, internships, donations, and other multifaceted support.

Relations between India and Burundi exist on three levels: at the African Union (AU) level, at the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) level, and at the bilateral level. India assists Burundi as per the announcements it made during the India-Africa Forum Summits (IAFS) in 2008 and 2011. After the IAFS-1, India is in the process of setting up a pan-African institute, the India-Africa Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (IAIEPA). There was also a plan to set up an information technology centre in Burundi. Under the project of the pan-African e-network, telemedicine and teleeducation centres were set up in Burundi in order to facilitate consultations by Burundian doctors with their Indian counterparts during a need for medical advice. This facility also enables subsidised education for Burundian students in Indian universities. The government of India also offers several fellowships and scholarships to Burundian students to pursue full-time undergraduate, postgraduate, and research courses in India. It also offers a few short-term training courses to be undertaken in India.

India’s trade relations with Burundi have also been on a steady rise. The major imports from Burundi are machinery and electrical equipment, animal hide, base metals, minerals, surgical instruments, and vegetables. On the other hand, Burundi imports aircraft, plastic and rubber, chemicals, and prepared food from India.

In July 2023, the Ambassador of the Republic of Burundi to India, H.E. M. Aloys Bizindavyi, presented his credentials to the President of the Republic of India, Her Excellency Mrs. Droupadi Murmu, thus making him the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Burundi to India. The current FOC was yet another opportunity for both sides to strengthen their relations and pledge to work together to build new avenues of cooperation. It was agreed upon that the next round of consultations would be held in New Delhi at a date convenient for both parties.