Spain is becoming an increasingly attractive destination for Indian investments, as evidenced by recent visits from regional government leaders. The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, MK Stalin, and Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, have recently explored opportunities in Spain, with Stalin securing investment agreements worth $414 million during his 12-day visit.
Stalin expressed optimism about Tamil Nadu’s economic future, highlighting the signing of Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with Spanish companies. Notable investments include $65 million from EdibonE International, specializing in educational equipment, and $48 million from the Roca Group, a manufacturer of bathroom facilities. Additionally, a substantial agreement of approximately $30.1 billion was reached with the German group Hapag-Lloyd for the development of container terminals and logistics parks.
Stalin engaged in discussions with key figures from Spanish industrial giants, including Gestamp (international automotive engineering group), Talgo (railway company), and Abertis (highway manager). These interactions aim to foster stronger economic ties and potential collaborations between Indian and Spanish businesses.
This visit by Stalin follows a recent trip to Spain by Mamata Banerjee, whose focus centered on collaborations with La Liga and the Inditex Group, resulting in fewer tangible outcomes. Both leaders, belonging to regional parties in opposition to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), faced criticism for their overseas trips, which some viewed as extravagant at the taxpayers’ expense.
However, these visits have captured the attention of the Spanish business sector, as institutional visits from Indian regional leaders are infrequent. According to Óscar Esteban, president of the Indo-Spanish Chamber of Commerce (ISCC), these visits can position Spain as an economic partner, addressing the trade deficit and strengthening bilateral relations.
Esteban emphasized the significance of the institutional nature of these visits, particularly with heads of government, stating, “I don’t remember a visit like this that is more institutional and from a head of government.”
Bilateral trade between India and Spain reached $6.73 billion in 2021, although the trade balance has favored India in recent years. Madrid hopes that increased cooperation in sectors beyond trade, including defense, will deepen ties and contribute to a more balanced economic relationship between the two countries.