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(last updated: 20.12.2014)


India first recognised Estonia on 22 September 1921, when Estonia was admitted into the League of Nations. India re-recognised the Republic of Estonia on 9 September 1991 and diplomatic relations were established on 2 December of the same year in Helsinki. The Indian ambassador to Estonia Ashok Kumar Sharma resides in Helsinki.

The Embassy of the Republic of Estonia was opened in New Delhi in February 2013. The Estonian Ambassador to India is Viljar Lubi. Estonia’s honorary consul in India (Mumbai) is Sunil Khanna.

India foresight projectIn 2011 the Estonian Development Fund in co-operation with the Indian Embassy in Helsinki started an India foresight project, the goal of which is to map out possibilities for co-operation in various sectors.


To India
February 2013 Foreign Minister Urmas Paet
September-October 2012 Minister of Education Jaak Aaviksoo and rectors of institutes of high education
April-May 2010 Riigikogu Speaker Ene Ergma
November 2008 Foreign Minister Urmas Paet


To Estonia
April 2012 Minister of Corporate Affairs Sachin Pilot
September 2011 Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Praful Patel
September 2011 Minister of Information and Communications Technology Kapil Sibal
March 2011 Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur
September 2009 ndian Joint Secretary for e-Government Manoj Kumar Bhasti
November 2003 Minister of State for External Affairs Digvijay Singh


  • Declaration of Principles and Directions of Co-operation between the Republic of Estonia and the Republic of India (came into force 15.10.93);
  • Agreement on Co-operation in the Fields of Science and Technology (came into force 06.08.99);
  • Agreement on Co-operation in the Spheres of Culture, Education, Science, Sports, Arts, Mass Media, Tourism and Youth Affairs (came into force 11.11.99);
  • Agreement on Economic and Technical Co-operation (came into force 13.03.00);
  • Agreement on Trade and Economic Co-operation (came into force 24.08.04).
  • Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation (signed 19.09.11)

Economic Relations

One major reason for establishing an Estonian Embassy in India was the development of economic relations.

In developing co-operation, both sides feel that the economic sectors with the most potential are information technology, since both countries are skilled in the sector and there are many opportunities for co-operation, and bio- and environmental technology, in which India is also a global leader.

India’s importance as a trade partner to Estonia has grown year by year, but considering the size of India, trade volumes are still quite modest.

In 2012 India ranked as Estonia’s 32nd trade partner with a turnover of 86.4 million euros (0.3% of Estonia’s total trade). It ranked 28th among export partners (0.4% of exports) with a total of 54.5 million euros and was 34th among import partners (0.2% of imports) with a total of 31.9 million euros. In the first quarter of 2013 India was Estonia’s 34th trade partner with a turnover of 14.3 million euros (0.2% of total trade). During the same period Estonia’s exports totalled 8.1 million euros (0.3% of exports) and imports from India totalled 6.2 million euros (0.2% of imports).

nia has grown year by year, but considering the size of India, trade volumes are still quite modest.


Estonian-Indian trade 2005-2013 (million EUR)

Year Exports Imports Balance
2005 12.9 6.7 6.2
2006 11.7 8.2 3.5
2007 15.0 15.9 -0.9
2008 14.5 16.7 -2.2
2009 13.6 11.7 1.9
2010 18.5 15.6 2.9
2011 34.8 26.8 8.0
2012 54.5 31.9 22.5
2013 first quarter 8.1 6.2 1.9

Source: Statistical Office of Estonia

Main export articles in 2012:

  • Machinery and equipment – 42.6%
  • Pulp and paper – 25%
  • Metals and metal products – 18.6%
  • Medical instruments and measuring apparatuses – 4.4%
  • Leather and fur – 4.2%

Main import articles in 2012:

  • Machinery and equipment – 45.3%
  • Metals and metal products – 16.2%
  • Textiles and textile products – 9.2%
  • Chemical products – 8.8%
  • Plant products – 5.2%


According to Bank of Estonia data, as of 31 December 2012 India has invested 234 thousand euros in Estonia. The main sectors for investments are the manufacturing industry; construction; accommodation and catering; real estate; professional, research and technical activity; and financial and insurance activity.
Estonia’s direct investments in India as of the same date totalled 265 thousand euros, mainly in the financial and insurance activity and real estate sectors.


Estonia-India relations are most significant in the cultural sector, compared to other sectors.
E. Eckhold was probably the first person of Estonian origin to visit India, arriving on its shores at the end of the 17th century. Reliable information indicates that the renowned seafarer A. J. von Krusenstern was in Madras and Calcutta in 1797. The "Pühhapäiwa Wahhe-luggemissed" ("Sunday Intermediary Readings") of Otto W. Masing (1818) was the first written work in Estonian to touch upon India. At the University of Tartu several publications on the Sanskrit language and literature were published. In 1837, the teaching of Sanskrit began at the University of Tartu.

In the middle of the 19th century, the first missionaries went to India from Estonia: A. Nerling (1861-1872) and J. Hesse (1869-1873). Later, several others followed. Through the missionaries much information about India reached Estonia, and several articles and books were published. These were mainly connected with the evangelic missionary work in India, but also described the caste system, religions, yoga teachings, and Indian classical literature. Writer Andres Saal made a significant contribution by publishing longer articles about the Indian epic "Mahabharata", drama and folk wisdom in "Olevik" ("The Present") in 1912.

Cultural relations between the two states continue to be very good and diverse. India offers several scholarships through the Indian Technical and Economic Co-operation programme (ITEC), about which you can get more information from the Ministry of Education and Research. Estonians have shown great interest toward this programme – over 25 Estonians participate in the programme every year.

During the last decade, India has given some generous gifts to the Estonian Humanitarian Institute, the National Library, and the Oriental Studies Centre at the University of Tartu, sharing books that introduce India’s history and culture. Sanskrit has been taught at the University of Tartu and in the Estonian Humanitarian Institute at the Tallinn University. Tallinn University also teaches Hindi, Indian culture, philosophy and history.

Estonian films have participated in film festivals in India. The Eastern music festival organised by Peeter Vähi "Orient", where Indian music has been performed, has become an Estonian tradition. Indian music and dance has also been introduced during Jazzkaar.

Many notable musicians have been able to come perform in Estonia thanks to the Indian Cultural Association of Estonia (ICAE), which was established in 2003 and began active operations in 2004. The ICAE aspires to the beautiful words of Mahatma Gandhi: "I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be closed, instead I want the cultures of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible." The President of the ICAE is the Honorary Consul General of India in Estonia K.S. Tripathi.

On 3 March 2012 the Hindi-language translation of the Estonian epic poem “Kalevipoeg”, “Kalevputra” was unveiled during a book fair in New Delhi. Chairman of the Riigikogu foreign affairs committee Marko Mihkelson was in attendance. It was a significant event that opened the world of Estonian literature to Hindi-speaking audiences. On 17 May 2012 “Kalevputra” was presented to the President of the Republic of India.


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