India and Djibouti have signed an agreement to establish regular Foreign Office-level bilateral consultations between both countries.
The agreement was signed during President Ram Nath Kovind’s first leg of his four-day visit to Djibouti and Ethiopia. President Ram Nath Kovind is first Indian leader to visit Djibouti and it was also his maiden trip abroad since taking office.
Djibouti is strategically located at confluence of Red Sea with Indian Ocean in Horn of Africa and crossroads connecting Africa, Middle East and Asia. Contacts between India and Djibouti existed since ancient times. Historically, port of Adulis in Djibouti was hub of maritime trade for Indian seafarers for trading in spices and silk for gold and ivory.
Djibouti had opened its embassy in New Delhi in 2004, but India still does not have embassy in Djibouti. India’s relations are based on handful of diaspora and limited trade links from ancient times. In recent times, Djibouti has acquired major significance as result of geopolitical developments and presence of military bases of US and China side by side. Djibouti had supported India during Operation Rahat for evacuating Indians from war-torn Yemen in 2015.
Bilateral trade between both countries is on increase and is in India’s favor. In 2014-15, bilateral trade stood at US$ 239.43 million (India’s exports were US $ 237.96 million and India’s imports US $ 1.47 million). Most of trade with Djibouti actually serves growing market in Ethiopia. The main items in Indian exports were iron & steel products, paper and plastic products.