On 18-19 October, ICMPD's Director General, Michael Spindelegger, concluded his first visit to India, marked by a series of high-level engagements and bilateral meetings aimed at exploring opportunities to deepen ICMPD-India relations on migration and mobility. He had the pleasure of meeting ICMPD’s Member States and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) over the two days.
Director General Spindelegger began his visit with a productive meeting with H.E Muktesh Pardeshi, Secretary, CPV/OIA. Director General expressed his profound gratitude to the Government of India for its enduring support to ICMPD and emphasized the pivotal role of the Ministry of External Affairs in ensuring the continued success and broadening of ICMPD's initiatives in India.
Their discussion centred on ICMPD’s work in India related to the EU-India Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility as well as topics of mutual interest, such as supporting the Government of India’s efforts in promoting safe and legal pathways for Indian workers abroad.
The diplomatic discussions continued with a luncheon alongside H.E. Ambassador Mr. Ralf Heckner of the Swiss Embassy. The wide-ranging exchange revolved around the current state of play on Swiss-India cooperation on migration and mobility. Following this meeting, Mr. Spindelegger also met with H.E. Mr. Dimitrios Ioannou, the Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic. Director General Spindelegger offered his observations from his visit to Athens in September, as well as took note of issues of mutual importance within the EU-India migration corridor. This included, highlighting ICMPD’s efforts within the EU-India dialogue support project as well as the annual work-programme.
Day one came to a close with a celebration of ICMPD’s 30th anniversary, hosted by H.E. Ambassador Ms. Katharina Wieser of the Republic of Austria, at her residence. The reception brought together dignitaries from European embassies, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, and other key stakeholders.
Day two begun with Mr. Spindelegger meeting the British High Commission’s Minister Counsellor Ms Becks Buckingham, to learn more about the UK’s efforts with India on migration management as well as to explore opportunities for cooperation between ICMPD and the UK on migration and mobility.
To enhance mutual understanding and friendship, and to mark a deepening of relations, ICMPD’s Director General Spindelegger signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) and ICMPD. The objective of the MoU is for both parties to work together on migration related issues through joint research, bilateral/multilateral seminars, exchange of publications, and establishing links between two organisations.
The DG’s visit to India concluded by paying H.E Ms Meenakshi Lekhi an introductory courtesy visit. He shared a synopsis of ICMPD’s ongoing engagement (since 2017) within the India-EU Common Agenda on Migration & Mobility, as well as highlighted ICMPD’s plans going forward.
Director General expressed his desire towards further strengthening ICMPD’s partnership with the Government of India, engaging wider stakeholders, and reiterated our commitment towards acting as a ‘bridge-maker’ between the Government of India, EU and EU member states on migration and mobility issues.
Overall, the mission reinforced ICMPD’s ongoing efforts and sustained commitment to the EU, its Member States, and Government of India, in the field of migration management.