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The Minister of State for External Affairs, Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh’s Visit to Timor-Leste

The first ministerial-level visit from India to Timor-Leste since 2018 took place over the period of September 30 to October 2, 2023, when Minister of State for External Affairs Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh (MoS) was in Timor-Leste on an official visit.

During the visit, MoS called on President H.E. Mr. José Ramos-Horta and Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão. They discussed ways to strengthen further bilateral ties and cooperation in health, trade, hydrocarbons, agriculture, education, capacity-building, and pharmaceuticals. He further held talks with Foreign Minister H.E. Mr. Bendito Dos Santos Freitas. He discussed how both nations can add impetus to bilateral cooperation, capacity building, and development partnerships. When Minister of Trade and Industry H.E. Mr. Filipus Nino Pereira and Hon. MoS Ranjan Rajkumar met, they talked about how their nations might boost their bilateral commerce, pinpoint areas for increased trade, and examine opportunities that may arise from Timor-Leste’s new industrial policy and industrial parks.

MoS also attended a thorough briefing on the nation’s health system held at the WHO’s local office in Dili. Additionally, he connected with local Indians and Indian professionals employed by foreign agencies in Timor-Leste.

During the MoS’s visit, Jose Ramos-Horta, the president of Timor-Leste, and Prime Minister Mr. Xanana Gusmão expressed their appreciation for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to establish an Indian Embassy in Dili, which is the country’s capital.

MoS Ranjan Singh met with President Horta during his four-day official visit to Timor-Leste, and the two talked about ways to improve bilateral ties through collaboration in the oil and gas industry, capacity building, health, trade, and food security, as tweeted by Indian Embassy in Timor-Leste. 

A high-level delegation led by the then-Minister of State for External Affairs, Shri Omar Abdullah, attended the Timor-Leste’s Independence Day festivities in May 2002. India was one of the first nations to establish diplomatic relations with Timor-Leste (T.L.). On this occasion, letters of facilitation from the then-President, PM, and EAM were given. An MOU establishing official diplomatic connections was signed on January 24, 2003. India and Timor Leste have cooperated at the bilateral, regional, and global levels since establishing diplomatic ties in January 2003.

According to the latest data from the Ministry of  External Affairs of India, bilateral trade between India and Timor-Leste in 2018–19 was $5.26 million, with the main exports being pharmaceuticals, agricultural products, construction materials, etc. Most Timor Leste imports were made up of chemical goods.