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India – Tunisia Bilateral Relations

India has traditionally maintained cordial and friendly relations with Tunisia since establishment of diplomatic relations in 1958.  The first resident Indian Mission at the level of Cd’A was established in Tunisia in 1963 and raised to the Ambassador level in 1976. The Tunisian Embassy in New Delhi was set up in 1981. Tunisian leaders have expressed admiration for India’s democracy and its leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi and Pt. Nehru; the state that India’s freedom struggle has served as an inspiration for Tunisia.

2.  Under the two governments of President Bourguiba and President Ben Ali, the two countries also shared a respect for secularism, and moderation was a hallmark of Tunisian foreign policy. Bilateral relations continued on an even keel. In the early 2000s, progress was made in bilateral cooperation in phosphates with the establishment in 2006 of the joint venture in this sector. In international fora including UN, cooperation between Indian and Tunisia was very good – the countries supported each other’s candidatures to these bodies and had similar positions.

3.  Sheikh Rached Ghannouchi, President of Ennahda Party, visited India from 5-8 April 2015 as a guest of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. While in New Delhi, Sheikh Rached met with Mr. M. Hamid Ansari, then Vice President and Smt. Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister. He also met with Mr. Thambi Durai, Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha. He held interactions with the Indian student community at two universities at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University and at the Aligarh Muslim University. He also delivered a lecture on Tunisia’s Transition to Democracy at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi.

4.  Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Hon’ble Minister for Textiles and Special Envoy of Prime Minister of India paid a 2-day visit to Tunisia on 9 and 10 July 2015. He called on Mr. Beji Caid Essebsi, President of the Republic of Tunisia and handed over to him the invitation letter from Prime Minister to the 3rd India-Africa Summit held in October 2015 in New Delhi.

5.  Mr. Taieb Baccouche, then Foreign Minister of Tunisia led the Tunisian delegation to India to attend the 3rd India Africa Forum Summit. He met with EAM Smt. Sushma Swaraj on the margins of the 3rd India Africa Forum Summit, and had a tête-à-tête with PM Shri Narendra Modi, during the Summit-2015 in New Delhi.

6.  Mr. Mongi Marzouk, Tunisian Minister of Energy & Mines led the Tunisian delegation to India-Africa Hydrocarbons Conference on 20-21 January 2016 in New Delhi.

7.  Mr. Khemais Jhenaoui, Tunisian Foreign Minister attended the first Ministerial Meeting of the India–Arab Cooperation Forum in Manama, Bahrain on 24 January 2016.

8.  Tunisian Navy Chief attended the International Fleet Review held in Vishakapatnam from February 3-8, 2016.

9.  Sheikh Rached Ghannouchi, President of Ennahda Party, received the Jamnalal Bajaj International Award for spreading Gandhian values outside India on 07 November 2016 in Mumbai. The Award was conferred by the Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation.

10. Shri M.J. Akbar, MOS (EA) paid an official visit to Tunisia from 26 February to 1 March 2017. He called on President Essebsi, and had discussions with Minister of Energy & Mining Mrs. Hela Cheikhrouhou, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Mr. Sabri Bachtobji, Minister of Trade & Industry Zied Laadhari and Ennahda party President Sheikh Rached Ghannouchi. He interacted with intellectuals, political experts, think tanks at Tunisian Institute of Strategic Studies and addressed a business meet organised by UTICA. He visited Mahindra assembly plant in Sousse and TIFERT plant in Skhira.  Discussions, among others, focused on revival of TIFERT plant which was not producing targeted results due to administrative, labour and social issues.

11. Mr Hachem Hmidi Secretary of State of Energy Mining and Renewable Energies of Tunisia visited India to participate in the International Energy Forum meeting on 10-12 April 2018. On the sideline of IEF, he met with Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Mines during which it was proposed that both sides should sign MoU as a first step to further cooperation in the field of mining and geology. The Tunisian Minister also met Shri R.K. Singh MoS for renewable energy and a draft MoU was shared by the Indian side for cooperation between the two countries to further cooperation in renewable energy

12. MoS for Home Affairs Shri Kiren Rijiju visited Tunisia from 9-11 May 2018. MoS was personally received and seen off by Interior Minister in a clear departure from protocol. MOS held meeting with Foreign Minister of Tunisia and was received by the President of the largest political party Ennahdha. This provided the opportunity to meet Ennahda party Chief Sheikh Rached Ghannouchi immediately after Ennahda’s massive victory in the local elections.

Vice President’s visit:
13. Former Vice President of India, Shri Mohammad Hamid Ansari accompanied by Mrs. Ansari visited Tunisia on 02–03 June 2016.  During the visit, he met with President of Tunisia, Prime Minister, President of the House of Representatives of People and President of Ennahda Party.  Hon’ble VP also received Mufti of the Tunisia.  Two agreements, i.e. Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Handicrafts and Agreement on Cooperation in Information and Communications Technology were signed.  He delivered a keynote address “India and the World” organized by the Tunisian Institute of Strategic Studies.

FM Jhinaoui’s visit (October 2017):
14. Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui led the Tunisian delegation for the 12th session of the India-Tunisia Joint Commission in New Delhi from October 28-31, 2017.  He called on PM and handed over a letter of invitation from the Tunisian PM. To give a new impetus to bilateral relations, a Roadmap for India-Tunisia Partnership was initiated by EAM and Tunisian FM.  This was the first time India-Tunisia JCM was held at Foreign Ministerial level.  An MoU was signed for establishment of Soil, Water and Tissue Testing Laboratory in Tunis, as part of India's soft assistance under IAFS.  In all, six agreements encompassing judicial cooperation, cooperation in Youth matters, ICT, bilateral trade and investment were signed.  Two new JWGs- JWG on Trade and JWG on Agriculture were decided to be set up.  A target of bilateral trade to reach US$ 1 billion in the next five years was set.

FOCs, Joint Commission and JWGs:  
15. A mechanism for Foreign Office Bilateral Consultation exists between the two countries. Three consultations at Secretary-level have already been held in December 2001 and October 2002, and the third one on 30 April 2015. All three FOCs have been held in Tunis. Shri Anil Wadhwa, Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs headed the Indian delegation for the third round of FOC. The two sides signed an Agreement on Exemption of Visas for Diplomatic and Official Passports. Secretary (East) also called on Mr. Taieb Baccouche, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tunisia. He held discussions with Mr. Ridha Lahwel, Minister for Commerce & Handicrafts, Mr. Ridha Ben Mosbah, Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister, Mr. Nooman Fehri, Minister for Information and Communication Technology and Ms. Amel Azouz, Secretary of State for Investment and International Cooperation.

16. India-Tunisia Joint Commission Meeting which was earlier at the Minister of State for External Affairs level has now been upgraded at the level of EAM. The 12th session was held on 30 October 2017 in New Delhi.  Tunisian FM visited New Delhi to co-chair the JCM.

17. Several Joint Working Groups between the two countries have been set up to foster trade and commercial relations as under:

  1. JWG on Drugs and Pharmaceuticals: The fourth meeting of this JWG was held in October 2008 in Tunis. The fifth meeting was held in November 2013 in New Delhi. The sixth meeting was held in Tunis on 11-13 January 2017.
  2. JWG on S&T:  The 4th meeting was held in New Delhi on 23-24 March 2017.
  3. JWG on ICT: The 2nd Session was held on 29 June 2015 in New Delhi. The Tunisian delegation was led by Tunisian Minister of IT Mr. Noomane Fehri.  The next session is due to be held in Tunis.
  4. JWG on SMEs: The third meeting of Joint Working Group on SMEs was held at New Delhi on 02 April, 2014.
  5. JWG on Textiles: The first meeting of the Joint Expert Committee on Textiles (JECT) between India and Tunisia was held in Tunis on 16-17 March, 2009.
  6. JWG in the Oil and Natural Gas: During the 10th India-Tunisia Joint Commission Meeting, a JWG in the Oil and Natural Gas Sector was established and its first meeting was held in New Delhi in August 2007.

 

Security Cooperation:  
18. During the India-Tunisia JCM in October 2017, EAM conveyed to her Tunisian counterpart that “the cooperation on the security front is emerging as an important area between India and the countries in the West Asia. Tunisia has rich experience in this area. We propose to institutionalize this cooperation. Both sides, I am told, are also working on a visit by an Indian delegation to Tunis to discuss Cooperation in Combating Terrorism. I hope this will take the process further.”  In response, the first stand-alone Counter Terrorism Dialogue with Tunisia was held on 11-13 January 2018.  The Tunisian side proposed that the bilateral mechanism of the CT dialogue should be institutionalised so that exchanges can take place periodically.

19. The Foreign Minister of Tunisia told EAM: (i) Tunisia wishes to benefit from the Indian expertise in security matters.  To this end, we suggest  the consolidated framework in the field of security and encourage the coordination between the two countries in the fight against terrorism, human and drug trafficking and organised crimes; (ii) Tunisia would also like to benefit from the Indian training programmes in the field of security, particularly in the following areas: (a) Cyber Security; (b) Use of new technologies in fight against terrorism; (c) Forensic techniques, analyses and assessment of information and danger levels as well as prospects and strategic plans in security matters; (iii) Real cooperation between  Intelligence Service of both countries, particularly in fight against terrorism.

20. The first India-Tunisia Deputy NSA-level Security Dialogue between the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) and Tunisian Institute for Strategic Studies (TISS) took place on 14 December 2017 in New Delhi.  The Tunisian side was led by Mr. Neji Jalloul, former Education Minister and the current Director General of TISS. NSCS has proposed a draft MoU for cooperation with TISS.
      
Science & Technology Cooperation:   
21. India-Tunisia Cooperation in Science & Technology is guided by the Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation signed between the two countries in October 1995 and the Programmes of Cooperation there under.  The 4th session of the Joint Committee on S&T was held in New Delhi on 23-24 March 2017.  Both sides agreed to support 19 new R&D projects in areas including material science, ICT, health science, agriculture, biotechnology, renewable energy and water technology.  It was agreed that scientists from both countries would collaborate to develop affordable drugs and vaccines to tackle TB and Leishmaniasis.  Pasteur Institute of Tunisia and ICGEB, New Delhi will cooperate through IAFS. NIT, Srinagar has signed an MoU with the Sfax University for joint collaboration and research in material science in December 2018.  IIT, Indore has signed an agreement with National School of Engineers, Sfax for ongoing collaboration in wind energy.

Cooperation under India-Africa Forum Summit:
22. Under this initiative, Institute Pasteur of Tunis (IPT) is among the 3 institutes selected by the African Union Commission for support by the Indian scientific community to work on specific problems of the African continent and to find practical scientific solutions for them. Accordingly, a close cooperation programme has been initiated between IPT and the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) of New Delhi.  It was decided that the Institute Pasteur would be twinned with several leading laboratories of India towards capacity building in vaccine research and production. As a follow up, since June 2014, Pasteur Institute of Tunisia and Indian Department of Science & Technology, and ICGEB are in twinning arrangement for capacity building, research & training. Both sides also discussed further cooperation during 4th Session of India-Tunisia JWG on S&T in March 2017 in New Delhi. Tunisia avails of a number training programmes in different fields under IAFS.

23. Pursuant to the agreement signed during the JCM in October 2017, a Soil, Water and Tissue Testing Laboratory will be set up in Tunis by the Indian Institute of Soil Science, Bhopal under IAFS-III progamme.  Proposal for setting up a Next Generation Centre of Excellence by CDAC in the field of IT is under consideration.  Proposal for setting up a Regional Civil Aviation Centre under IAFS is also under consideration of the Ministry.

Training courses under ITEC, IAFS, CV Raman and ICCR Scholarships:
24. In 2017-18, more than 150 Tunisians availed of training courses in India under the above schemes. During 2018-19, 110 ITEC slots, and 10 ICCR scholarships for higher studies were utilized.

25. A group of 50 young Tunisian diplomats visited India from 28 October for a two-week special training programme at FSI. Foreign Minister of Tunisia Khemaies Jhinaoui, expressed his deep appreciation and thanked GOI for this initiative, saying such a gesture would go a long way in reinforcing and strengthening bilateral ties with India.

26. As a follow-up of the only stand-alone CT dialogue with Tunisia in January 2018, Tunisian Security Officers took part in a specialized training course in Tactical Driving, and bomb disposal organized by NSG at its Manesar training centre in October-November. 

27. A three-member IIFT delegation under IAFS programme   imparted a week-long training course in Tunis on international trade law and trade negotiations to members of Tunisian export organizations, chambers of commerce, government functionaries and private sector. Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in-charge of Economic Diplomacy inaugurated the course along with senior government officials from Ministry of Trade.

Bilateral Trade Activities:
28. Tunisia has been a reliable source for phosphates. India accounts for around 50% of Tunisia’s global phosphoric acid exports.  India, on the other hand, exports a wide range of products. Significant among them are Knocked-Down Kits, Automobiles, Electrical Items, Cotton, Mechanical Engines, Organic Chemical Products, Rubber, Rice, Coffee/Spices etc. The annual bilateral trade during 2017 was US$ 403.713 million.

29. A 12-member multi-sectoral FICCI trade delegation visited Tunisia on 27-30 July 2016. This was the first trade visit after a gap of several years.  Four B2B meetings were held in Tunis and Sfax, the second largest city. There was overwhelming response and eagerness from the Tunisian companies in all four B2Bs.

30. A 9-member business delegation launched by the Plastics Export Promotion Council visited Tunis from 9-11 November, 2016.  A Buyer-Seller Meet was organized with the apex chamber of commerce in Tunis, CONECT; and a business meeting with two other prominent chambers of commerce, UTICA and Tunisian Chamber of Commerce and Industry were held.

31. A 12-member business delegation from Tunisia accompanied Tunisian FM in October 2017.  They had business meetings with CII, FICCI and FIEO.

32. Pursuant to the agreement between FIEO and Tunisian CEPEX for export promotion signed in October 2017, a 26-member multisectoral FIEO business delegation visited Tunisia on 15-17 January, 2018.  They had business meeting with apex chambers of commerce and industry in Tunisia and also met with Investment Minister.

33. A seven-member Tunisian business delegation sponsored by the Indian side participated in Chemical and Plastics exhibition organized by CAPEXIL, CHEMEXIL and Plastics Export Promotion Council in Mumbai from 22-24 March.

34. A five-member ICT business delegation sponsored by the Indian side participated in media, entertainment and creative art organised by the Services Export Promotion Council of India in Mumbai from 6-8 March.

35. A 13 member CII business delegation visited Tunisia from 10-13 July 2018. The delegation met Minister of Trade and Commerce, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, Minister of Mining Energy and Renewable and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in charge of Economic Diplomacy. A MoU was signed with CONECT, and B2B meetings were organized with CONECT and UTICA Sousse

India Tunisia Joint Venture:
36. Tunisia-India Fertilizer SA (TIFERT) is a joint venture company, worth US$450 million with a capacity to produce 360,000 tonnes of phosphoric acid per annum, which was made operational in 2013. Two Indian companies, Coromandel Fertilizers Ltd and the Gujarat State Fertilizers Ltd, own 30% equity in the company.

Other Indian companies:
37. Indian companies, M/s KEC International Ltd and Jyoti Structures Ltd, are in Tunisia since several years putting up electric transmission lines. An assembly plant of Mahindra pickup trucks is operational in Tunisia since October 2013 which is selling more than 1200 vehicles per year with a target to produce up to 2,500 per year. Mahindra and Mahindra provide the vehicles as knocked-down kits, which are assembled by the Tunisian company in Tunisia. A new passenger SUV model has been launched by Mahindra; the company has plans to set up its assembly line for these SUV/KUV Mahindra vehicles in 2020 if the response is good.   M/s TATA Motors have commenced production of pick-up trucks with Tunisian companies ‘Le Moteur’ and ‘Icar’ in June 2015.   TATA’s flagship Tunisian model Tata Xenon has been very popular as 2000 vehicles have been sold in short span of 2 years.  TATA is also exploring possibility to introduce small commercial and heavy vehicle.   M/s. VA Tech WABAG, an Indian multinational headquartered in Chennai, specializing in setting up sustainable water and waste water infrastructure has been awarded the contract for setting up Zarat Desalination Plant in south of Gabes.
 
Export potential:
38. Pharmaceuticals, commercial/farm vehicles and spare parts, machinery, renewable energy, agro products, heavy construction equipment, two wheelers, software exports and the services sector (tourism and hospitality) are the main areas where we can enhance our exports.

Other Activities:
39. A five-member composite delegation led by Ministry of Ayush and a private Ayurveda products company took part in the first International Congress of Phytotherapy 2017 in Monastir, Tunisia from 29 April-1 May 2017. This was part of the follow-up of the last JWG meeting on Drugs and Pharmaceuticals that was held in January 2017 when the Indian delegate from Ministry of Ayush had evinced interest in the Tunisian research entity in traditional medicine.

Culture:
40. Under the Cultural Exchange Programme between the two countries, cultural troupes from both sides visit each other country regularly. The Tunisian artisans have been regularly participating in Surajkund Mela since 2016.

41. As part of celebrations of the 60th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Tunisia, it was decided to hold Festival of India in Tunisia in 2018 to showcase India’s culture, food, cinema and rich traditions. Two food festivals sponsored by ITDC – one in April and the second in August 2018 were held in Tunisia. In all, nine cultural groups sponsored by Ministry of Culture of India and ICCR visited Tunisia in 2018 and performed at different places including the prestigious summer cultural festival in Sousse and El Djem.

42. On the occasion of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, homage was paid to the statute of Mahatma Gandhi on 2 October 2018 at the campus of Manouba University. A symposium on Gandhian philosophy was organized on 2nd October 2018. Gandhi’s photo exhibitions, setting up of Gandhi Corner and India Corner at various universities and prestigious institutes, donation of books to schools and colleges also took place as part of year long celebrations. A commemorative postage stamp on Mahatma Gandhi was released by Tunis Post in November 2018. A quiz on Mahatma Gandhi was also launched on Face Book on 2 October.

43. India participated as Guest of Honour and Focus International partner at the prestigious Carthage Film Festival for the first time since its inception in 1966. The Indian segment was inaugurated by the Minister of Culture Mohammed Zine El Abedine and Director General of Carthage Film Festival Nejib Ayad on 5 November. In all, 8 Indian films including two Satyajit Ray’s were screened in the festival. The Manipuri Film Director of the acclaimed Manipuri documentary “Lady of the Lake” Haobam Paban Kumar and a well-known film critique Premendra Nath Mazumdar were invited at the festival. A Manipuri cultural group from ICCR was also invited. 

44. Two Tunisian films were screened at the International Film Festival of India, Goa from 3-10 November 2018.  Tunisia was the partner country at the Kolkata Film Festival held in Kolkata from 10-17 November 2018.  Two Indian films were screened at the Tozeur International Film Festival in southern Tunisian in December 2018.  A Tunisian film festival was held in Manipur from 25-26 May 2019 with participation of six Tunisian art and commercial films.

45. Tourism promotion campaigns were launched through Incredible India posters on city buses and billboards in the capital Tunis and on highways during August and November 2018.

46. The first-ever ICCR chair on Indian civilisation was established for one month at the University of Manouba in Tunis in February-March 2017. Prof Srivastava, former Director, National Archives of India taught Indian civilisation, evolution of ancient, medieval and modern Indian history to PG students of literature, languages and history in the Faculty of Humanities and Languages, Manouba University.

47. A 10-member cultural band from Tunisia participated in Africa Day celebrations in New Delhi on 25 May 2018.  This was the first time the Tunisian troupe participated in Africa Day celebration organized by ICCR.

48. Two prominent Tunisian journalists visited India from 19-26, August 2018 as part of XP Division’s familiarization programme for journalists from Francophone African countries.

49. Youth Exchanges: Pursuant to the minutes of the 12th India-Tunisia JCM held in October 2017, a 20 member young Tunisian women delegation, invited by Ministry of Youth and Sports visited India from 26 February-5 March 2018. Similarly a 15-member young Indian women group visited Tunisian in October 2018. The Indian delegation was received by Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Sabri Bachtobji and Secretary of State for Youth Abdel Kaddous Saadaoui. Both the Ministers highlighted the importance of people-to-people exchanges, especially youth interactions for a better understanding of modern advances made by India in technology, education, research and scientific studies. The Indian delegation also visited Parliament and interacted with Tunisian parliamentarians.

50. Regular Yoga and Hindi language classes are held at the Chancery premises by a Teacher of Indian Culture (TIC) deployed by ICCR. These classes are also held at other places in coordination with Ministry of Youth & Sports, Ministry of Education, Ministry of S&T, Ministry of Higher Education and others.

51. International Day of Yoga 2019 was celebrated in Tunisia during the period 12-23 June 2019. A gala event was held in the evening in collaboration with Federation of Sports for All, an entity under the aegis of Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Minister for Youth and Sports was the Chief Guest. More than 10 events were conducted in more than 5 cities in and outside Tunis. 
 
52. ITEC Day was held on 11 September 2018. The Chief Guest at ITEC Day was Secretary of State for Economic Diplomacy in Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who profusely praised and appreciated India’s ITEC programme and thanked GoI for providing the opportunity to Tunisian government and private sector employees in various training programmes such as ITEC, IAFS, C.V. Raman Scholarships, etc. in skills development and capacity building. 

53. Hindi Pakhwada culminated with the celebration of Hindi Diwas on September 2018. Several competitions such as writing, poetry, painting and drawing, skit and debate in Hindi were held and prizes were given to participants. The Mission conducts regular Hindi classes for beginner and intermediate levels for Tunisian students as well as newly recruited young administrators at the National School of Administration (ENA).

54. A Tunisian participant was awarded Silver Medal in the final round of BKJ quiz in foreigners’ category.  24 semi finalists were selected from over 40,000 applicants from 100 countries; out of 24 semifinalists 9 were selected for grand finale in three categories-NRI, PIO and foreigners.

55. Two Members of Parliament of Ennahda, the largest political party in Tunisian Parliament, participated in The Raisina Dialogue 2019.  Four Tunisian representatives had participated in the 2018 edition.

56. Two Tunisian films – ‘Whispering Sands’ and ‘The Beauty and the Dogs’ participated in the world panorama section of IFFI, Goa from 20-28 November Two Indian films were screened at the Tozeur International Film Festival held in Tozeur (550Km from Tunis) in the Tunisian desert from 5-8 December.

57. 125 ITEC slots were utilized until end March 2019, the highest ever by Tunisia and 18 IAFS training slots.

58. In October 2018, a two-week special course for 50 young Tunisian diplomats was organized at FSI, New Delhi.

59. Ambassador hosted Holi celebration event at India House in Carthage, a suburb of Tunis, on 6th April, 2019. This was attended by over 150 people which included Tunisian public figures, officials, media personalities, business persons and members of the diplomatic community.

60. For the first time, ICCR Foundation Day was celebrated on 9th April 2019 at Sheraton hotel, Tunis with a cultural performance in collaboration with the Tunisian-Indian Friendship Foundation. Several activities, including classical and contemporary Indian dance and music, quiz and yoga demonstrations, distribution of books on Indian culture and on Mahatma Gandhi were undertaken. A Power Point presentation on year-long cultural activities undertaken by the Mission was shown. Over 100 guests, including Tunisian friends of India and Indian community members, attended the event. On the occasion, a special publication “India through the eyes of Tunisia” in French was brought out by the Mission.  It included an introduction about ICCR and its vision and motto, ICCR’s scholarship programmes and other flagship programmes such DVP, AVP, promotion of Hindi, various cultural activities, yoga, Hindi classes, lectures on Indian culture etc.  undertaken by our Mission in Tunisia under the aegis of ICCR.

61.  A group of 22 senior Tunisian administrators underwent a specially-tailored training programme on e-governance and cyber security at Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi from 15-26 April 2019.

62. A 3-member delegation headed by JS (DPA-II) visited Tunisia in May 2019 to lay the groundwork for the launching of a project that aims to create a Tunisian-Indian centre for the renewal of ICTs in the Ghazala technology park and to study ways to strengthen Tunisian-Indian cooperation in the areas of advanced technologies and support for start-ups.

63. In May 2019, the first-ever Gandhi Udyan was inaugurated in Riadh Ennasr (Ariana governorate) by Ambassador Prashant Pise and Ariana Mayor, Mr. Mohamed Fadhel Moussa, as part of the city's initiative to build partnership with India in various cultural, social and environmental fields. The project was implemented by the Indian Embassy, which planted fruit and ornamental trees in memory of Mahatma Gandhi. Over 130 trees were donated by the Embassy for the purpose. The ceremony took place in the presence of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor of Ariana, former Foreign Minister of Tunisia, school children and many residents of Ariana municipality in addition to the former Tunisian ambassador to India, Mr. Ahmed Ounaies.   A plaque depicting ICCR’s logo and that of Ariana municipality was unveiled. A bicycle rally was organized on 16 June 2019 in Tunis followed by a Yoga session.

 Indian Community:
64. The permanent Indian community consists of a couple of families who have been here since several decades. There are some Indian professionals working in different projects; the community numbers are about 75.

Evacuation of Indian nationals from Libya through Tunisia:
65. Following collapse of law & order in Libya, Embassy facilitated evacuation of more than 3500 Indians working in Libya through Djerba port of Tunisia and Tunis since July 2014.

 

***

(June 2019)