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Celebrating Six Decades of India-Malta Diplomatic Relations: A Panel Discussion at Sapru House

by Diplomatist Bureau - 16 May, 2024, 12:00 124 Views 0 Comment

On May 14th, 2024, the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) hosted a panel discussion at Sapru House, New Delhi, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of India-Malta Diplomatic Relations.

Ambassador Vijay Thakur Singh, Director-General of ICWA, opened the session with a warm welcome and set a reflective and forward-looking tone for the discussions. Her remarks underscored the importance of this milestone and the ongoing collaboration between India and Malta.

Ambassador Anil Trigunayat, former High Commissioner of India to Malta, provided an insightful perspective based on his tenure. He shared several memorable instances and anecdotes, highlighting the mutual respect and understanding that have characterised the bilateral relations over the years.

His Excellency Mr. Reuben Gauci, High Commissioner of Malta to India, reflected on the deep-rooted ties between India and Malta, which officially began on March 10, 1965. He said, “Malta was quick to recognise India’s independence, initiating diplomatic relations under the leadership of Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, known for his wisdom and decisive leadership. The first prime ministerial visit from Malta to India in 1969 marked a significant milestone, further cementing the relationship.”

High Commissioner Gauci emphasised that the historical ties between India and Malta go beyond formal diplomatic relations. Both countries share a common colonial history as part of the British Empire, which established a foundation for their connection. Despite the geographical distance, Malta and India occupy strategic positions in their respective regions—Malta in the Mediterranean and India in the Indian Ocean—enhancing their global significance.

Diplomatic relations, as High Commissioner Gauci pointed out, are fundamentally about people-to-people connections. Before achieving independence, the interactions between the two countries were shaped by their status as parts of the British Empire. The quick establishment of formal relations post-independence highlights the deep-rooted historical connections and mutual respect between the two nations.

“Adding to the historical richness of their diplomatic journey, Maltese missionaries have been present in India since 1925, well before formal diplomatic ties were established. Their contributions in regions such as Jharkhand, Orissa, and West Bengal have left a lasting impact, symbolizing the longstanding and multifaceted ties between the peoples of both countries,” added High Commissioner Gauci.

He also mentioned about Malta’s Foreign Minister’s visit India, which further solidified bilateral ties. Malta, as an active member of the United Nations Security Council, has demonstrated its ability to contribute significantly to global issues, despite its small size. This includes addressing the war in Ukraine and the recent escalation in the Middle East.

Looking ahead, Mr. Gauci affirmed Malta’s commitment to enhancing its relations with India. The 60th anniversary serves as both a milestone and a foundation for future endeavours, encouraging deeper collaboration and stronger ties. The increasing importance of India on the global stage reinforces Malta’s dedication to maintaining a robust and enduring partnership.

The discussion also featured an interesting presentation by Mr. Ivan Vassallo, Deputy Head of Mission of the High Commission of Malta, who highlighted the historical connections between the two countries. His presentation enriched the discussion, providing a deeper understanding of the historical context and the evolving relationship.

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