New Delhi, November 25
In a shift in policy, India permitted the India-Kosovo Commercial Economic Office to open its office here but the MEA said “it is reiterated that our position on Kosovo is well known, and there is no change in it.’’ The opening of the office is significant because India does not recognise Kosovo though it has its own independent functioning government like Taiwan.
In the aftermath of the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the West helped 92 per cent of ethnic Albanians to gain independence from Serbia, an ally of Russia. Since the 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence, the MEA’s approach is that the recognition of Kosovo “can set a very dangerous precedent for similar cases around the world’’. Recently, Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani renewed his appeal to India to recognise the “sovereign territory of Kosovo’’.
Due to India’s non recognition, the nearest embassy of Kosovo is in Dhaka and its Ambassador to Bangladesh Guner Ureya sent a welcome message on the low-key opening on November 17.
At the same time, Serbian ambassador Sinisa Pavic welcomed the MEA stating that India’s position on Kosovo has not changed. “It is the newest confirmation of historical friendship and actual partnership between Serbia,” said a tweet from the Serbian embassy.
According to WikiLeaks, the US and European countries pressured India in recognising Kosovo’s independence. India’s default position is non-recognition due to its close ties with Russia and the prospect that it will be caught in a bind over J&K.
The Office may not have the same status as the Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre. Though Taiwan and India say their respective “Centres” promote only economy and culture, both have posted promising diplomats as the heads and other senior staff.
Indian Economic Trade Organisation chief Asif Iqbal and an entrepreneur couple had met Kosovo PM Albin Kurti in the capital Pristina as a prelude to opening of the Office here. “The objective is to help promote economic cooperation and strengthen ties between the world’s largest agricultural country and Europe’s youngest country,’’ said the Indian entrepreneur couple Payal Kanodia and Deepak Kanodia who had accompanied Iqbal to Pristina in August.
Kosovo is slowly gaining international acceptance. A delegation from Kosovo had for the first time participated in the COP27 Conference in Egypt.
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