Trade Union Relations and Delegations between the German Democratic Republic (FDGB) and India (AITUC, INTUC, HMS) from 1964 to 1982


Ini­tial con­tacts of the GDR´s Free Ger­man Trade Union Con­fed­er­a­tion (FDGB) with India exist­ed before 1964, but from that year onward, ties between the FDGB and the All-India Trade Union Con­gress (AITUC), affil­i­at­ed with the Com­mu­nist Par­ty of India (CPI), deep­ened and for­mal­ized. That same year, the CPI expe­ri­enced a split between the CPI and the CPI (Marx­ist). In the ear­ly 1970s, the FDGB also became more inter­est­ed in the Indi­an Nation­al Trade Union Coun­cil (INTUC).  This was relat­ed to a split in the Indi­an Nation­al Con­gress (INC) in 1969, as well as the pre­sumed and relat­ed left­ward evo­lu­tion of Indi­ra Gandhi’s gov­ern­ment. Like­wise, links were now estab­lished with the Social­ist-led Hind Maz­door Sab­ha (HMS). The declared goal of the FDGB was to estab­lish a “trade union uni­ty of action” among the var­i­ous Indi­an fed­er­a­tions. How­ev­er, coop­er­a­tion with the HMS broke down with the dec­la­ra­tion of the state of emer­gency in June 1975. With the end of the state of emer­gency and the elec­toral defeat of the INC in 1977, as well as an accom­pa­ny­ing realign­ment of the CPI on the one hand and the GDR’s India pol­i­cy on the oth­er, the FDGB’s rela­tion­ship with the INTUC also cooled. The FDGB’s rela­tions with Indi­an trade unions were large­ly shaped by the GDR’s for­eign pol­i­cy inter­ests. In par­tic­u­lar, the strug­gle for full diplo­mat­ic recog­ni­tion by the Indi­an Repub­lic (1972) as the self-declared lead­ing nation of the non-aligned states played an essen­tial role.

The core of this The­ma­tis­che Ressource is an anno­tat­ed list of del­e­ga­tions that took place between 1964 and 1982. On the one hand, it lists del­e­ga­tions of mem­bers of the FDGB and its sub-unions to India. On the oth­er hand, vis­its by Indi­ans who were asso­ci­at­ed with Indi­an trade unions are shown. The del­e­ga­tions were of dif­fer­ent nature. They could be rec­i­p­ro­cal for­mal vis­its to con­fer­ences and con­gress­es, as well as rep­re­sen­ta­tive del­e­ga­tions. Like­wise, lec­tur­ers were sent to India. The GDR also received “study del­e­ga­tions”, trainees and stu­dents. Also list­ed are recre­ation­al and cura­tive vis­its by Indi­ans, as well as some infor­mal vis­its by high-rank­ing trade unionists/politicians. The sources are locat­ed in the hold­ings of the Fed­er­al Exec­u­tive Com­mit­tee of the FDGB in Archiv der Parteien und Massenor­gan­i­sa­tio­nen der DDR (SAPMO), which can be found in the Bun­de­sarchiv in Berlin. The descrip­tions and com­ments there­fore refer pri­mar­i­ly to the activ­i­ties and views of the FDGB as pre­sent­ed in the sources. The list is sup­ple­ment­ed by an index of per­sons, a detailed list of the archival doc­u­ments used, and a list of abbreviations.

Down­load the list here as PDF or as sortable XLS.