Belize–formerly British Honduras–is the only English-speaking country in Central America, and a member of the Commonwealth. Otherwise a small country with a diversified population of just over 3 lakh, located on the Caribbean Sea, with Mexico in the north and Guatemala on the west, Belize gained independence on 21 September 1981.
Notwithstanding the distance, India and Belize enjoy friendly, warm, and cordial relations. Belize traditionally supports India on most issues, in the UN and other multilateral fora, and vice versa. India has extended cooperation to Belize as disaster relief and for development, which in recent years has been by way of gift of Bajaj 3-wheelers, medicines, cricket sets, and currently offers of a line of credit of US$10 million and of an IT centre. In addition, several Belizean proposals for Indian cooperation are under mutual consultation process. India also provides 11 training slots annually to Belize under the ITEC Programme, and a couple of ICCR scholarships.
Belize as a member of SICA (System of Integration in Central America) has yet another forum for a regular dialogue with India, for strengthening and expanding relations between India, and Belize and other Central American countries. The Dialogue covers cooperation in areas of mutual interest, including UN reform, anti-terrorism, climate change, nuclear disarmament, food and energy security, trade promotion, and disaster management.
Bilateral visits at political and senior levels help promote these ties:
• Philip Zuniga, President, Senate, attended a Parliamentary Conference in Delhi in September 2007
• Sujan Chakraborty, MP, visited Belize for a Commonwealth Parliamentary study on environment, in February/March 2007
• John Birchman Saldivar, Minister for Sports and Governance, visited India for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, in October 2010.
• Kamal Nath, Minister of Urban Development, visited Belize for the Board Meeting of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum in May 2012.
The Indian Embassy in Mexico is also India’s non-resident High Commission to Belize. Leading business personalities represent each other in the two capitals as Hony.Consuls General.
Economic & Commercial
Bilateral trade is understandably limited at US$ 45.4 mn in 2013. Indian exports (US$ 23 mn) are mainly textiles, organic chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and auto parts, and imports (US$ 22.4 mn) are miscellaneous chemical products. Certain sectors of the Belizean economy such as tourism, fishery and food processing offer good potential for Indian investors. The pharmaceuticals sector may also be of interest to Indian companies based in Latin America to expand their distribution network to Belize.
ICCR’s cultural troupes visit Belize on a regular basis and are popular, among both Indian and other communities.
Belize has up to 1,500-strong Indian business community, mainly Sindhis, that migrated there from India in the recent decades, and constitute a valuable link between Belize and India. There is also an “East Indian” community, over 10,000 strong, migrating to Belize from the Caribbean over a period of time, who are totally assimilated with the local society, but have evinced interest to re-discover their lost Indian roots, through the ‘Know India Programme’, ‘Tracing the Roots’ facility, and exposure to various Indian cultural programmes and activities.
India’s High Commissioner to Belize
Ambassador of India in Mexico is concurrently accredited as High Commissioner of India to Belize, with residence in Mexico.
Indian nationals require Belizean visa to visit the country. The following may be contacted for visa for Belize.
Honorary Consul General of Belize in India
The Honorary Consul General of Belize in India is Mr.Umesh K.Modi, a noted Indian industrialist, resident in New Delhi. His contact particulars are:
Chairman, President & CEO
Modi Group of Industries
1400, Modi Tower
98, Nehru Place,
New Delhi - 110019
Tel: (00 91 11) 2628 6589, 2648 3594
Fax: (00 91 11) 2644 9030, 2645 1659
Honorary Consul General of India
Mr.Arun Hotchandani, a noted businessman of Belize and a person of Indian origin, is India’s Honorary Consul General in Belize. His contact particulars are:
Honorary Consul General of India in Belize
14 Albert Street
Tel: (00 501) 227 1634, 423 7560
Mob: (00 501) 610 5564
Fax: (00 501) 227 1221, 423 7078
Residence: 4633 Seashore Drive, University Heights, Belize City, Belize.
Tel: (00 501) 223 0634.