Historically, Luxembourg and India have had very strong economic and trade associations. For many decades, both countries have worked as partners in multilateral fora with shared values on democracy, the rule of law and climate change.
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 July 1 1948. The first Vice-Consulate of the Grand Duchy was opened 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 have increased. India and Luxembourg have supported each other’s candidatures to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on a reciprocal basis. Luxembourg and India have been elected to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for 2022-24.
The number of high-level visits over the years reflects the goodwill 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 September 16 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 June 20 2018, on the eve of the 70th anniversary. The Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, HE 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. On November 19, 2020, both PMs held a Virtual bilateral summit to discuss the entire spectrum of bilateral relations and to strengthen the India- Luxembourg cooperation in the post- COVID world. The following agreements were signed: • MoU between India International Exchange and Luxembourg Stock Exchange • MoU between State Bank of India and Luxembourg Stock Exchange • MoU between Invest India and Luxinnovation As announced during the Summit, Luxembourg joined the International Solar Alliance in February 2021. An MoU between SEBI and Luxembourg Regulator CSSF was signed in June 2021. The Summit also institutionalized regular bilateral consultations between the Ministry of External Affairs of India and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of Luxembourg. The first Foreign Office Consultations between India and Luxembourg were held on November 12 2021, in Luxembourg.
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 our countries’ economic and trade relations. The last meeting of the JEC was held in New Delhi in September 2019, and the 15th JEC took place in Luxembourg in May 2017. Ma n y c omp a n i e s f r om Luxembourg have been “Making in India” for more than two decades and are very active in the Indian market. To name some, PAUL WURTH has equipped and built blast furnaces for all Indian steel producers throughout the country. Since the merger, Arcelor Mittal, with its global Headquarters in Luxembourg, is also increasing its presence in India after taking over Essar Steel and strengthening its pro
duction lines. With a company in Karnataka and West Benga l , 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 in South Asia. IEE produces car seatbelt reminders, among others, and is expanding its presence in Pune. TRAXYS is active in 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 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 five satellites in India. Her Excellency Mrs. Peggy Frantzen, Ambassador of Luxembourg to India, visited U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC), Bengaluru and met with Shri S. Somanath, Chairman, ISRO / Secretary, DOS on August 9, 2022. Shri M. Sankaran, Director, URSC and Smt. Sandhya Venugopal Sharma, Additional Secretary, DOS, was also present in the meeting. The reforms announced in the space sector by the Government of India and opportunities for collaboration among Indian and Luxembourg industries were discussed during the meeting. The Ambassador also visited ISRO’s satellite building and testing facility. 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 exports high-performance valves, regulators and fittings for all gas applications are 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 5 t h G e n e r a t i o n , 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. More examples show that Luxembourg and India’s trade relations are very diverse. In 2020, as per the Indian Official Statistics, Luxembourg was the 15th Foreign Direct Investor in India compared to the 16th 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 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 three languages fluently, English, French and German, besides its national language Luxembourgish. Luxembourg has attracted much 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 incubators and start-ups have a growing potential to join efforts together, especially in the Fintech sector, but not exclusively. The Luxembourg Technoport, for instance, has 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.
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 .