The Spain-India Observatory (SIOb) is a platform to foster mutual knowledge and understanding that was triggered by the Spain-India Report 2020, an initiative promoted and led by the Spain-India Council Foundation (SICF). The SIOb offers an open space for analysis, dialogue and reflection on Indo-Spanish relations, as well as an updated repository of bilateral information and memory. It will promote mutual knowledge, identify opportunities for cooperation and offer practical resources so that the main bilateral stakeholders can strengthen the ties between the two countries.
The Spain-India Council Foundation, with 15 years of bilateral impact, works alongside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of Spain and the main government departments, institutions and companies involved in Spain-India relations. Due to its public-private nature devoted to promoting mutual knowledge and understanding, the SIFC becomes the appropriate entity to lead the SIOb. The establishment and development of the SIOb under the coordination of the SICF guarantees an institutional vision, a constructive perspective and a commitment to a permanent collaboration between institutions in a joint effort to improve the Indo-Spanish ties.
The historical absence of key geographical, political and economic ties between Spain and India has made it difficult for the two countries to meet and get to know each other, generating a recurring deficit and an unfulfilled potential for bilateral exchanges. This lack of mutual knowledge and the scarce critical mass of bilateral stakeholders make it difficult for Spain-India relations to have a continuous and persistent momentum from the bilateral civil society. India is today one of the main global players, not only as a geostrategic and geoeconomic power, but also as a thriving and entrepreneurial market as well as a young and vibrant society. Given the current political understanding, the lack of strategic irritants and the sectoral complementarities and synergies between Spain and India, it is an auspicious moment to promote a constructive bilateral dialogue. The SIOb would generate the required knowledge and resources for fostering the Indo-Spanish ties, thus bringing the institutions and societies of both countries closer together.
The SIOb is created with the aim of becoming a space for encounter and dialogue involving together all institutions and individuals interested in Spain-India relations, a platform for the promotion of bilateral cooperation and a repository of information and bilateral memory. As an initiative for the advancement of Indo-Spanish relations, the SIOb seeks to generate knowledge maps that serve as analytical tools for public institutions and private entities, sectoral publications that foster mutual knowledge of the Spanish and Indian civil societies, and bilateral activities that promote joint dialogue and reflection.
The SIOb will promote a permanent monitoring and analysis of Spain-India relations through the publication of sectoral reports and practical guides that will take over from the mapping and analysis carried out in the Spain-India Report 2020. As a platform that fosters bilateral dialogue and reflection, the SIOb will organize activities that facilitate exchanges between Indo-Spanish stakeholders in strategic areas defined in theme-based annual programme. The choice of a thematic agenda of activities will favour the continuity in targeted in-depth analysis, the generation of synergies between activities, the efficient use of resources and the generation of publications with strategic coherence.
The SIOb promotes a bilingual platform hosted initially by the Spain-India Council Foundation's website with the aim of pursuing its own virtual presence once its activity is consolidated. Likewise, its annual agenda is developed under the coordination of the SICF and seeks synergies with the Foundation's own activity, maximising the use of resources, its scope and its impact. In addition to the organisational support of the SICF, the SIOb has its own director, Cristóbal Alvear-Garijo, and analyst, Mikel Herrera Pilar.
Cristóbal Alvear-Garijo, Director. Cristóbal works as an institutional consultant and legal adviser with a 15-year professional experience in South and Southeast Asia. He is also a PhD candidate at the University of Seville specialized in comparative constitutionalism and gender in South Asia, coordinator of the law area at the Spanish Association for Interdisciplinary India Studies and an expert in Spain-India bilateral relations. Among his latest publications are the Spain-India Report 2020, his participation in the book "Gender, Sexuality and Constitutionalism in Asia" by Bloomsbury Academic and the working paper on "An Introduction to Comparative Law" at IE Law School where he has also been an adjunct professor. He has a degree in Law and BA from UPO, and a Master's degree in International Relations and Diplomacy from the Diplomatic School of Spain.
Mikel Herrera Pilar, Analyst. Mikel works as Project-Manager at the Spain-Australia, Spain-Brazil, Spain-Colombia, Spain-India and Spain-Peru Council Foundations. He also participated as analyst in the Spain-India Report 2020 and worked as Foreign Trade Advisor at the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Colombia. He holds a degree in International Relations from the University of Deusto (Bilbao, Spain), having spent a year at Fergusson College (Pune, India), and a Master's degree in Geopolitics and Strategic Studies from the University Carlos III of Madrid.