Bilateral Relations
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High Commission of India



Brief on India-Zambia Relations



India and Zambia have longstanding cordial and friendly bilateral relations. Economic and development cooperation is the salient feature of India’s engagement with Zambia. From 2010 India has approved soft loans/grants, etc to Zambia worth about US$480mn. Every year, India offers short-term skill enhancement and specialized training programmes to Zambia as well as fully-paid educational scholarships for undergraduate and postgraduate studies.


The leaders of Zambian freedom struggle, such as Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, drew inspiration from the leaders of India’s freedom struggle, particularly Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi continues to inspire and invoke admiration in Zambia and among its leaders, even the younger generation. The warm relations have continued into this century. Over these last several decades, India has come to be seen as a reliable partner and friend and is described by Zambian leaders as an “all weather and time-tested friend”. The relationship continues to be driven by mutual respect and is based in a spirit of partnership for mutual benefit.

India and Zambia have set up a Joint Permanent Commission at Ministerial level in 1981. The second India-Zambia foreign office consultations were held in Lusaka in March 2017.


High level visits have been a feature of our historical bilateral relationship. During his presidency, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, the first Republican President of Zambia, visited India more than ten times beginning in 1967. The Late President Levy Mwanawasa paid a state visit to India in April 2003. President Michael Chilufya Sata, accompanied by First Lady Mrs. Christine Kaseba, paid a private visit to India in March 2012 and First President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda paid a private visit to India in June 2012. In 2013, Vice President Dr. Guy Scott led a high-power official and business delegation, comprising Ministers of Commerce, Trade & Industry, Gender and Child Development and Deputy Minister of Mining, to the 9th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave in New Delhi in March 2013 at which Zambia was a Focus Country. Vice President Mrs. Inonge M. Wina, accompanied by Minister of Agriculture, and Deputy Ministers of Health and Foreign Affairs, represented Zambia at the 3RD India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi [26th to 29th October 2015]. Vice President Inonge Wina travelled to India on a private visit for medical consultations in October 2017. Zambian officials have also been attending various trade-related events in India.

From India, Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi visited Zambia in 1964 [as I&B Minister] and 1970 and 1976; and Presidents V.V. Giri and Sanjiva Reddy in 1974 and 1981 respectively. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi undertook a visit in 1986 and President Venkataraman in 1989. More recently, in January 2010, Vice President Shri Hamid Ansari paid an Official visit to Zambia.

In August 2014, Secretary [West] visited Lusaka and held talks with Deputy Foreign Minister Gabriel Namulambe and Health Minister Joseph Kasonde. In July 2015, Mr. G. M. Siddeshwara, MoS [State Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises], visited Zambia as Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to invite Zambian President for the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit held in New Delhi in October 2015. A 22-member Indian Parliamentary delegation, led by Hon’ble Speaker Smt. Sumitra Mahajan, attended the 134th IPU Meeting in Lusaka in March 2016.

Mr. Dinesh Sharma, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Finance, participated in the 2016 Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank in Lusaka [23-27 May 2016] as temporary Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. A three-member CAG delegation led by Shri Shashi Kant Sharma, Comptroller and Auditor General of India, paid an official visit to Zambia from 6-8 October 2016.

Economic and Development Cooperation:

The salient feature of India’s engagement with Zambia is financial and developmental cooperation. Since 2010, India has approved soft loans/grants, etc. to Zambia to the value of US$480mn. These include, four LoCs valued at US$158mn; loans under Exim Bank’s Buyer’s credit scheme valued at US$316mn [this includes a US$245mn soft loan for Lusaka De-congestion project and US$71mn for a power project]; a grant of US$5mn; and, supply of “Made in India” medical equipment as humanitarian assistance valued at about US$ 1mn. Annually, India offers 90 slots to Zambia under ITEC programme; 16 fully paid ICCR-sponsored scholarships for higher education and a range of high-skill training programmes under the India-Africa Forum Summits. Till date, Zambia has utilized around 3000 slots under the capacity building programmes.

MoUs/Agreements signed

Sr. No.



Cultural Agreement between the Government of the republic of India and the Government of the Republic of Zambia.



Agreement between the Government of the republic of India and the Government of the Republic of Zambia regarding economic and technical cooperation.



Agreement between the Government of the republic of India and the Government of the Republic of Zambia regarding science and technology.



Bilateral Trade Agreement.



Convention between Government of the Republic of Zambia and the Government of the Republic of India for the avoidance of DTAA and the prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to taxes on income.


Mutual Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the republic of Zambia to combat illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and money laundering.



Agreement on the establishment of JBC between FICCI, Associated CCII and ZACCI



Bilateral Air services agreement between the Government of India and the Republic of Zambia



Foreign Office Consultations [FOCs]



MoU for Cooperation in Agriculture.



MoU between the Golden Valley Agricultural Research Trust of Zambia and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research,, New Delhi



The Reserve Bank of India and the Bank of Zambia signed a MoU on supervisory cooperation and exchange of supervisory information.


Bilateral Trade:

Bilateral trade has been growing steadily. As part of India’s commitment under the WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration of 2005, India offers various trade-related concessions to Zambia such as duty-free market access and preferential duties as well as visa-related concessions.

During 2016-17, bilateral trade reached $980mn. India’s exports to Zambia were valued at US$237 million and imports at US$ 743 million. India’s export items include drugs and pharmaceuticals, machinery and instruments, transportation equipment, cotton yarn and fabrics, plastic, rubber, chemicals, and electronic goods. India’s imports from Zambia include non-ferrous metals, ores (copper and cobalt), semi-precious stones and raw cotton. In the financial year 2017-18 [Apr-June] two-way trade is valued at about IS$293mn.


Pan-Africa E-Network Project: Under the project, TCIL set up a telemedicine/teleconsultation centre at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka; a distance learning centre at Mulungushi University, Kabwe and a VVIP Centre for Video Conferencing at the State House, Lusaka and it was inaugurated by Mr. S. M. Krishna, Minister of External Affairs on 16th August 2010. Validity of the project ended on 31st March 2017. Given the growing popularity and usage of the telemedicine centre at the UTH and the E-learning centre, Mission has recommended further extension of the project beyond 31st March 2017.

India is one of the largest investors in Zambia. India’s Investments include Indo-Zambia Bank which was established in 1984, as a joint venture between GoZ and three Indian public sector banks i.e. Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and Central Bank of India. The IZB operates the largest network of banks and a cornerstone of Zambia’s banking sector.

Vedanta’s Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) has investments of about US$3billion in Zambia.

M/s RJ Corporation, an Indian firm, has invested US$30 million, are the authorized bottlers of Pepsi Co. in Zambia.

M/s Nava Bharat Singapore Limited, a subsidiary of Nava Bharat Ventures Ltd. Hyderabad, purchased 65% equity shares in Mamba Collieries Ltd. (the GoZ holds the remaining 35% shares through Zambia Consolidated Copper Mine Investment Holdings or ZCCM-IH). Nava Bharat will invest US$108 million in the recapitalization of Mamba Collieries and the installation of the new coal handling and washing plant. Nava Bharat has also set up a 330 megawatts thermal plant in the Southern Province of Zambia.

Taurian Manganese Ltd, part of Dharni Sampada Pvt. Ltd, invested about US$20 million in 2010 in manganese mining and is making further investments of about US$200 million in construction of a manganese processing plant in Serenje district in Central Province.

M/s NRB Pharma Limited’s US$12 mn pharmaceutical plant in Lusaka South Multi-Facility Economic Zone (MFEZ) was officially commissioned by President Edgar Lungu on 26th April 2017.

Bharti Airtel launched its new brand, Airtel Zambia, in November 2010 and is now the leading mobile service provider in Zambia.

Investments by TATA include a five-star hotel the Taj Pamodzi, managed by the Taj Hotels group; “Itezhi Tezhi Power Corporation Limited” (ITPC), a joint venture between Zambia Electricity Supply Company (ZESCO) and TATA Africa Holdings; a vehicle & bicycle assembly plant; collaboration with the Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) for 36 MW power project in the Copperbelt; a leather tannery; and pharmaceuticals.

In addition, scores of medium size Indian companies, including Neelkantha Group of Companies; PLR Projects and Parrogate – Continental Ginnery Limited, have made sizeable investment in various fields of the Zambian economy and trade.


Mission actively promotes participating of Indian cultural troupes in various events in Zambia as also facilitates performances by Indian cultural troupes on special occasions. In 2016, two ICCR-sponsored cultural troupes visited Zambia: (i) a 12-member Dandia Dance Troupe visited Zambia from 24-27 March for participation in the 3rd Livingstone International Arts and Culture Festival; and, (ii) a six-member ICCR-sponsored ‘Light Classical Vocal cultural troupe’ led by Ms Shaila Hattangadi performed live in Lusaka on 4th November. On the occasion of Zambia’s 50th Independence Anniversary in October 2014, renowned singer Usha Uthup performed live in front of a packed audience. Some other cultural troupes have also performed in Zambia during the last few years. Their performances are hugely appreciated both by Indian community and Zambians. Indian community has maintained their cultural bonds with India and celebrates all the important Indian festivals and important events and enthusiastically promotes Indian culture in Zambia. Bollywood movies are regularly screened in cinema halls in Zambia and are quite popular.

International Yoga Day celebrations are attended by a cross-section of persons.

Indian Community/PIOs:

There is sizeable and vibrant Indian community in Zambia, estimated to be about 30,000 comprising Indians and PIOs



December 2017

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