India-Cuba Relations

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 20, 2023, 21:05

India-Cuba relations have been warm and friendly ever since its inception. The nations share healthy bilateral relations. India was one of the first nations to recognize Cuba after the 1959 Cuban Revolution. India-Cuba relations are also based on both nations’ interests in vouching for the global south.

The countries have exchanged bilateral visits ever since the establishment of their relationship. In this article, we have shared more about India-Cuba relations, their history, and their significance.

India-Cuba Relations 2023

India-Cuba relations were established during the Cuban Revolution, in 1959. Since then, both countries have supported each other on various international platforms. India-Cuba relations were strengthened by the visit of Che Guevara to New Delhi on 30 June 1959.

Presently, the countries share a good relationship in the domains of politics, trade, and goodwill. Find more about India-Cuba relations below.

India-Cuba Relation




To establish good relations in trade and politics

Current India-Cuba Relation

The countries share cordial bilateral ties

India-Cuba Relations: History

The history of India-Cuba relations can be traced back to 1956. At the time of the Cuban Revolution, the countries initiated a friendship. Here are some of the events that followed after establishing India-Cuba relations.

  • On 30 June 1959, Ernesto "Che" Guevara arrived in New Delhi, India on a two-week visit and met then-Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru.
  • This event initiated India-Cuba relations as both countries promised to increase trade.
  • In 1960, after Guevara’s visit, India opened its first embassy in Havana, Cuba. This was an indicator of good India-Cuba relations.

India and Cuba Relations: High-Level Visits

  • Several high-level visits have happened between India and Cuba in the past.
  • After Guevara’s visit in 1956, the President of Cuba, Fidel Castro visited India in 1973 and 1983.
  • In 1985, Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi visited Cuba.
  • Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Cuba in 2006.

India-Cuba Relations: Milestones

Ernesto Guevera's visit to India in 1959 led to the consolidation of diplomatic India-Cuba relations. Also, it led to the opening of embassies in each other capitals.

  • On 12 January 1960, the first head of the Mission presented credentials in Havana. Both countries also maintained close ties in important international forums like the UN, NAM, and others.
  • To maintain good India-Cuba relations, there have been significantly high-level visits between India and Cuba over the years.
  • Cuban President Fidel Castro visited India in the years 1973 and 1983. And from the Indian side, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi visited Cuba in 1985, while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh went on a Cuba visit in 2006.
  • Another event that highlights healthy India-Cuba ties is India's vote favoring the UN General Assembly resolution in support of ending the United States embargo against Cuba.
  • Cuba's publicly expressed support for India's permanent seat in the UN Security Council proves the excellent diplomatic India-Cuba relations.
  • Cuba also voted for India's candidature in the UNSC for the non-permanent seat.

India-Cuba Relations: Economic and Cultural

  • As of the 1980s, India-Cuba relations in trade were valued at around US$300 million.
  • But as a result of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and India's economic liberalization, there came a sharp decline in the trade between the two countries.
  • As of 2017, India's Cuba relationship in economic trade stood at around USD$38.81 million.

India-Cuba Relations - Other Indian Aids to Cuba

  • In 1992, Cuba received 10000 tonnes of wheat and rice from India. This was an important point of India-Cuba Relations, with Fidel Castro terming the donation the "Bread of India".
  • In 1995, a 5KW Solar Power Plant was donated to Cuba by India along with spare parts worth Rs. 5 Lakhs.
  • In 2008, India wrote off a loan and interest amounting to $62 million to the Cuban Government.
  • To express the goodwill of India-Cuba relations, India also extended USD 2 million in cash after Hurricane Gustav, Ike, and Paloma in 2008 and during the Cuban earthquake.
  • In 2013, a donation of $1 million was made by India to Cuba for the construction of the AstroTurf Hockey Pitch.
  • Under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Program and the Indian Council of Cultural Rights, scholarships are given to citizens of Cuba.

India-Cuba Relations: Indicators

India-Cuba relations have been smooth ever since the first visit of Che Guevara after the Cuban Revolution. Here are some indicators of good India-Cuba relations.

  • India exports products like pharmaceutical products, plastic and rubber products, organic chemical, machinery, and mechanical appliances to Cuba.
  • India-Cuba Relations are also get reflected by collaborations in areas like Homeopathy, Biotechnology, and the traditional medicine system.
  • Also, India extends developmental assistance to Cuba in different sectors. India donated 60 tractors in 2019 to Cuba, accessories, medicines, and medical equipment.
  • Another India-Cuba relations indicator is that Yoga and Vipassana are also practiced in Cuba. Cuba celebrated the International Day of Yoga, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak.

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FAQs on India-Cuba Relations

Q1. How are India-Cuba relations in 2023?

India-Cuba relations in 2023 have been very friendly and warm, with important bilateral, economic, political, and cultural exchanges between the years. India-Cuba relationship has been strong ever since Guevara’s visit to India after the Cuban Revolution.

Q2. What are the India-Cuba trade relations?

India-Cuba relations in trade are great. The countries trade several products with each other, such as:

  • India exports plastic, rubber, pharmaceuticals, machinery, etc, to Cuba.
  • Cuba gained the help of India in 1992 when India donated 10000 tonnes of wheat and rice to Cuba.
  • India is generous when it comes to providing Cuba with any assistance.

Q3. Does Cuba support India?

Yes, India-Cuba relations have been amazing in the past and Cuba does support India. Both nations have expressed their friendship publicly. While India has favored the ending of the United States embargo against Cuba, the latter country has expressed support for India's permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

Q4. Who established India-Cuba relations?

India-Cuba relations were established in 1956, at the time of the Cuban Revolution. The President of Cuba, Fidel Castro sent Guevara to New Delhi for a two-week visit in 1956. This event initiated cordial India-Cuba relations.

Q5. Who is the first Indian President to visit Cuba since 1959?

Ram Nath Kovind is the first Indian President to visit Cuba since 1959. India-Cuba relations are strong when it comes to politics, socio-economic development, etc. Both countries have been supportive of each other on a global stage to prove good India-Cuba relations.