I am delighted that Kreston Global is having their Annual conference in Spain. While the UAE-Spain trade and business corridor is quite active, I would like to talk here a bit about the India-Spain economic & commercial relationship.
India and Spain share a very close relationship, both being strong democracies and without any bilateral, geopolitical irritants. Relations between India and Spain go back to the 20th century and Christopher Colombus, who discovered America, was actually sent by the Spanish Queen to look for a route to India. In 1937, Rabindranath Tagore wrote a Pamphlet titled “Conscience of Humanity”, which appealed to Indians to help in the fight for democracy during the Spanish civil war. In modern times, we established democratic relations in 1956 and today we have a vibrant political and economic relationship, which also encompasses considerable interaction in the field of Education, Science & Technology, Culture and other fields.
Economic & Trade relations have been extremely vibrant and Spain is India´s 6th largest trading partner in the EU. Bilateral trade, which registered a drop of 19 per cent during the pandemic, has rebounded and crossed 2019 figure of US$ 6.5 billion. India has a surplus of about
US$ 3 billion in its trade balance with Spain, but this is offset to a large extent by the large number of Spanish companies present in India who are doing very good business.
There are about 250 Spanish companies in India, with multi-sector presence across infrastructure & construction, auxiliary products and industrial engineering, renewable energy and environmentally sustainable products, EICT (electronic information and communication technologies), automotive components and automotive accessories. Spain has also invested more than US$ 3.56 billion as cumulative FDI in India. Recently, the Ferrovial Group of Spain invested US$ 425 million in the infrastructure sector through Prime Minister’s Gati Shakti Master Plan.
In addition, India has recently signed a major contract with Airbus Spain for procurement of 56 C-295 military transport aircrafts. This is one of the biggest ´Make in India´ contracts signed as 40 of the 56 aircrafts would be completely made in India with almost 13,000 plus parts of the aircrafts to be manufactured and assembled in India. This will see a relocation of the entire supply chain for Aerospace industries, especially for the C-295 aircrafts to India.
As I had mentioned before, India has a surplus in its bilateral trade with Spain with the main items of export being organic chemicals, textiles and garments, steel, fuels & mineral oils, aluminium and other articles, leather and leather goods, marine products, vehicles, auto components, pharmaceutical, pigments, inorganic chemicals, etc.
India has also made considerable investment in Spain of almost US$ 1 billion. There are more than 50 Indian companies in Spain mainly in Software & IT services, automotive parts & automobile industries, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and logistics.
The future looks bright for India-Spain collaboration and there are many sectors in which there is considerable scope for cooperation among entrepreneurs of Spain in India, with a maximum potential being in the start-up business. Spanish entrepreneurship ecosystem increased between 2015 to 2021 from €10 billion to €46 billion. This provides considerable opportunity for start-ups in India to upscale in Spain and Spanish speaking countries as well as for Spanish start-ups to do the same in India. The future is bright for India-Spain relations and companies and organizations active in this corridor, especially in UAE should take advantage of this opportunity.