Ahead of his visit to the United States, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to make a scheduled stop over at Ireland on September 23 for a bilateral visit. Ireland has been off India’s radar for many years. Ahead of his visit to Ireland, Mr Modi tweeted, “My visit to Ireland, a first by a PM in almost 60 years, will focus on improving people-to-people & economic ties.” He becomes the second Indian Prime Minister to visit the country. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was the last PM to have visited Ireland in 1956.
There have been a few visits at the ministerial level between India and Ireland, mostly after 2005. Mr Modi will hold talks with Taoiseach (head of government) Enda Kenny before meeting members of the Indian community in Ireland. There are over 26,000 Indians in Ireland of which 17,000 are Indian citizens. Ireland has been growing as a preferred destination for Indians especially students. The bilateral trade between the two countries stood at 2.48 billion euros as of 2013-14. Ireland’s exports to India are mainly in the field of telecommunications equipment, computer accessories, precision equipment and pharmaceuticals.
Ireland’s economy provides a huge opportunity for Indian investors to participate. It has traditionally been a trade dependent economy. Ireland’s prosperity and growth since the 1990s has been appreciated internationally and was popularly known as the ‘Celtic Tiger’. Ireland continues to provide opportunities for foreign investors by creating an atmosphere conducive to doing business, low corporate tax rate and other friendly measures. In May 2008 the Ireland-India Business Association (inaugurated by the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Michael Martin) has significantly enhanced interactions between the business communities of the two countries.
The leading Indian investors in Ireland include Wockhardt, Sun Pharma, Reliance Genemedix Ltd., FirstSource, Tata Consultancy Services, HCL and WIPRO, Deepak Fasteners, Jain Irrigation Europe and Aditi Technologies. Ireland has a few investors in India that include CRH Taxback Group, Connolly Red Mills, Globoforce, CRH, ICON, Kerry Group, Diageo and Glanbia.
Mr Modi’s visit to Ireland would be closely evaluated. The potential that Ireland offers is huge. It would be interesting to see how Mr Modi would approach the visit and the likely outcomes arising from the same.
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