The Federal Republic of Somalia is situated in a strategic place in the Horn of Africa bordering the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea on the north. In fact, it is at the entrance to the Gulf of Aden, which leads to the Red Sea, Indian Ocean on the East, Republic of Djibouti on the North West, Ethiopia on the west, and Kenya on the South. Somalia is the 84th largest country in the world by population, but it is the 44th largest country in the world by area with 637,657 kmsq with population of maximum 13.5m. Somalia has the longest coast in Africa 3300kmsq.
Early 1960s, the Commissioner of India to Mauritius was accredited as High Commissioner of India to Somalia and presented his Credentials in 1961.
The high dignitaries that visited India in early years of bilateral relations were Prime Minister of Somalia H.E. Dr. Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke accompanied by Minister of Information visited India in 1963. H. E. Dr. Sharmarke visited India again in 1968 as President of Somalia. Somalia’s Foreign Minister H. E. Dr. Abdurahman Jama Barre also visited India in 1979.
This was followed by the visits of Somalia’s Minister of Commerce & Industry in 1986 and of a Special Envoy of the President of Somalia in 1989.
During the civil war in 1991, the Indian Embassy in Mogadishu was closed. However, Somalia’s Embassy in India maintained open. Since 2009, the High Commissioner of India to Kenya is concurrently accredited to Somalia.
Since then, the Somali dignitaries came to visit India for strengthening the relationship between the two countries. For Instance, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Planning and International Cooperation H.E. Dr. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali visited India in March 2011 to attend the 7th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India Africa Project Partnership. During the visit he met Hon’ble Minister of External Affairs Shri S. M. Krishna and Hon’ble Commerce & Industry Minister Shri Anand Sharma.
President H. E. Sheikh Sharif Ahmed had a meeting with Dignitaries from India, Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs Shri E Ahamed led the Indian delegation at the London Conference on Somalia on February 23 2012. On the side line meeting, Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs Shri E Ahamed also got an opportunity to meet with other dignitaries from Somalia, particularly, regional leaders such as President of Puntland H.E. Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamud Farole and President of Galmudug H. E. Mohamed Ahmed Alin on the sidelines of the Conference.
Minister for Education, Culture and Higher Studies Prof. Ahmed Aidid Ibrahim visited India to participate in the India-Africa Science & Technology Ministerial Conference and Tech Expo held in New Delhi on March 1-2 2012. During the visit he met Hon’ble Minister for Human Resource Development Shri Kapil Sibal on March 9 2012 for bilateral meeting.
The President of State of Puntland H.E. Abdirahman Mohamed Farole visited India on May 15-16 2012. He met Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs Shri E. Ahamed and Hon’ble Minister of State for Petroleum & Natural G as Shri R. P. N. Singh.
Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs Smt. Preneet Kaur of India addressed the debate on Somalia held at the UN Security Council on October 16, 2012. She congratulated the new Somali leadership noting that President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud had studied in India during 1980s.
Minister of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Environment H. E. Mr. Abdirahman Ibrahim IBBI visited India to attend the High Level Segment of the 11th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biodiversity held in Hyderabad in October 2012.
The Minister of Trade of the Federal Republic of Somalia H.E. Mr. Mohamud Ahmed Hassan visited India during January 2013 to attend the Vibrant Gujarat Business Summit for Trade and Investment promotion for Somalia.
March 2014, H.E. Hamza Mohamed Burci ,the formal State Minister of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but current is the State Minister of Environment came to India to participate 10th India Africa Conclave. After the conference, one of his high level meetings was to visit Foreign Service Institute and meet the Dean of FSI and her colleagues. The first group of 20 young Diplomats came to India and trained for one month from Sept 16 to Oct 16, 2015. Indian Government, particularly the Ministry of External Affairs with the leaders of FSI and all the dignitaries, professors had so generously spared their valuable time to give lectures to our young Diplomats. These lecture series deserves to be considered as a crucial courses input and the FSI deserves appreciation for its efforts for initiations this intellectually stimulating excise for young Somali diplomats.
In July 2015, Special Envoy of Prime Minister and MOS for External Affairs Gen. V.K. Singh visited Mogadishu and handed over India’s PM’s invitation letter to Somali President to attend the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit. The President accepted the invitation.
H.E. Mr.Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia led the Somali delegation for the 3rd India Africa Forum Summit held in New Delhi from 26-29 October, 2015. During the visit the President was conferred an Honorary Doctorate degree by the Barkatullah University as he studied in India during mid 1988 and obtained his Masters from Bhopal University now know as Barkatullah University.
India has been providing full support to Somalia both at bilateral level and continental levels. Somalia hosted the prestigious Pan-African e-Network Project denoted by the Indian Government to all African Countries for capacity building programmes such as providing adequate educational facilities and affordable healthcare to African Citizens using modern information and communication system.
October 31, 2008 H.E. Ebyan Mahamed Salah, Ambassador of Somalia to India signed memorandum of understanding with the Telecommunication Consultants of India Ltd. For implementing of the Pan African E Network Project on Tele-Medicine & Tele- Education. The project has been completed & Tele- Education component was inaugurated on 16th August, 2010 by H.E. Mr. S. M. Krishna Minister of External Affairs of India and & H. E. Eng. Ali Ahmed Ali Deputy Minister of Education of Puntland, Somalia. The VVIP Connectivity was also inaugurated in Villa Somalia, Mogadishu, where the leaders of the country, particularly the President would be able to connect world leaders through teleconference. The Pan African E Network demonstrates India’s Commitments to share their progress in the knowledge sector and help bridge the digital divide in Africa. It is worth mentioning that, 2012 the program of tele-education has been expanded to Mogadishu with Horseed University. This program strengthened young generation’s capacity building.
India offers Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) training scholarships to Somalia. Pursuant to the 2nd Africa-India Forum Summit held in Addis Ababa in May 2011, the total availability of ITEC training slots has been enhanced to 35 for 2011-12 for Somalia, as well as the scholarships slots up to 16 seats. Now over huge number of students are in India’s ICCR and African Scholarship Scheme. People to people contact and human resource development deepened and widened significantly through education and cultural exchange between the two countries..
Peace and security, India contributed 3million to AMISOM in order to strengthen peace and security in Somalia.
Humanitarian assistance: India contributed 8 Million for drought and famine in Horn of Africa including Somalia in 2011 through WFP.
Friendly countries like India played a historical role to eliminate the piracy and terrorist activities in the Indian Ocean which we shared. So, now since the piracy is a history, H.E. Mr. Abdusalam Omer Minister of Foreign Affairs and Investment Promotion of the Federal Republic of Somalia signed for Somalia to be a member of the vital organization “Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), charter during the Council Ministers’ (COM) meeting in Bali, Indonesia on 27 Oct, 2016.
This signature means that the Federal Republic of Somalia is formally a member of the IORA which promotes trade and diverse cooperation in many fields including Maritime Safety and Security, trade and Investment Facilitations, Fisheries and Management, tourism and Cultural Exchange. The Minister Stated the “Somalia as a member State seeks to both contribute and benefit from the partnerships within IORA to advance Somalia’s great economic potential both at sea and in land”.