Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has described his just-concluded visit to three Latin American countries as addressing the ‘high level contact deficit’ with the important region and one that would help in improving bilateral trade and investments for mutual benefit.
Briefing media persons during a stopover in Frankfurt, Germany before emplaning for New Delhi after concluding his week-long visit to Guatemala, Panama and Peru, Mr Naidu said that during his visit, five Memoranda of Understanding and Agreements were signed on training of diplomats and English teachers of Guatemala; exemption of visas for diplomatic, official and consular passport holders of India and Panama besides a Work Plan for cooperation in agricultural research and Cooperation in New and Renewable Energy with Peru.
Mr Naidu also announced a total of US $ 25 million Line of Credit for setting up a Centre of Bio-diversity and Drug Tracking and a Centre for Innovation and Technology during his talks with Panamanian leaders.
Noting that the high-level visit occurred after a nearly half a century, Mr Naidu said “India’s sub-optimal engagement with these three countries is to a large extent due to high level contact deficit. My visit is the highest level ever from both sides to Guatemala and Panama since establishment of diplomatic ties about 50 years ago. Former President KR Narayanan visited Peru in 1998. I am hopeful that my visit would catalyse enhanced flow of trade and investments through necessary follow up actions by respective governments”.
While the top leadership of the three Latin American countries acknowledged India’s strengths and expertise in various fields and it’s fast growing economy which they said could benefit their countries under enhanced engagement, Mr Naidu informed.
The Vice President underlined that high level visits by Indian leaders to identified countries and regions of the world were ‘affirmative statements of intent to enhance cooperation for mutual benefit’. India, he said, had embarked on such engagements over the past four years and this visit was a part of that well thought out outreach and was is in line with India’s vision for a better world through collective actions for shared benefits”.
He explained that the three Central American countries offered significant opportunities for India given their high level of engagement with the US and the other North and South American economies through regional arrangements and Free Trade Agreements, besides being logistic and financial hubs in the region, an official release here said.