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India-Yemen Relationship

India- Yemen relationship is more than 2,000 years old when Yemenis’ linked with the Romans. Later, southern Yemen was a British protectorate administered by the Bombay Presidency during which time an Indian garrison was serving whilst the rupee was the official tender. Arabs from Yemen imported spices, especially pepper, coconuts, and pearls, amongst other goods, from India. During Pre-independent India, prominent leaders visited the country. India had actively supported Yemen’s independence from the British. India was one of the first countries to recognize the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR) in 1962 and the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY) in 1967. It was then in 1990 that YAR and PDRY merged into one becoming the Republic of Yemen.

In April 2012, India joined the “Friends of Yemen Group”. Yemen has always supported India on many international platforms. Yemen has been a member of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) among the others. It has also always supported India’s permanent membership in an expanded United Nations. The bilateral relationship has been enhanced between these countries through the series of bilateral meetings at the official level and also the participation in various events. In 2014, Yemen participated in IORA Workshop on Women Empowerment and Poverty Alleviation held from 17-19 September at Hyderabad and also the Indian Ocean Dialogue meeting held on 5-7 September at Cochin.

Various bilateral agreements in economic and technical cooperation, air services, agriculture and allied sector, cultural, bilateral investment promotion, health and medicine, oil and gas industry and Education Exchange have led to better development and coordination in the working between these countries.  The University of Aden has a collaboration with the University of Roorkee, Jawaharlal Nehru and Allahabad Universities. In 2012, the Indian Council for World Affairs (ICWA) and the Sheba Centre for Strategic Studies entered into an MoU to encourage the exchange of experts and analysts and participation in seminars and symposia on subjects of mutual interest. India offers scholarships under various schemes under the aegis of ICCR for pursuing graduate, postgraduate and doctoral programmes. Under ITEC programme, India provides civilian pieces of training to Yemen for capacity buildings. Many students from the country now live in Bangalore and Aurangabad. 

With the Yemeni civil war raging on since 2015, India has taken a long approach to engage with Yemen. But the post-conflict situation can provide India will a lot of investment opportunities. This will also mutually help Yemen to build up the country’s economy at large. Yemen has always occupied a great level of significance for India in the region. It has always helped India to reach other Arab countries with an increase in participation in the working dynamic of the region. Yemen is also strategically close to two naval chokepoints, the Bab el-Mandeb and the straits of Hormuz. Through these chokepoints, 30% of the world’s trade take place including that of oil. This not only answers India’s economic concerns but also security ones, as already mentioned Yemen has been a member of IORA. These reasons provide better opportunities for both the countries to work on and make the foundation of their relationship stronger.