In a bid to extend India’s outreach in the Latin American region and strengthen ties, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu successfully completed his two-nation visit to Paraguay and Costa Rica.
On his 8 day long visit Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu met the President of Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benitez and President of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado Quesada and other leaders. The Vice President participated in high-level delegation talks with the leaders of both countries.
On his visit to Costa Rica, Vice President highlighted India’s areas of strength that Costa Rica can benefit from, including Information Technology, Biotechnology, Space Technology, pharmaceuticals, hydroelectric generators, power plant equipments and railway construction.
Vice President Naidu received the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris Causa) in International Peace & Conflict Studies conferred by the University for Peace in recognition of his contribution to the rule of law, democracy, sustainable development and peace.
Observing that there was immense scope to deepen ties between India and Costa Rica, the Vice President underscored the importance of a sustained conversation between elected representatives. He invited Parliamentary delegations from Costa Rica to visit India.
Vice President Naidu also attended a Luncheon hosted by the first Vice President of the Republic of Costa Rica, Epsy Campbell Barr. The two leaders discussed topics such as youth empowerment, promoting tourism, healthcare, financial inclusion, e-governance, Space Program, early childhood education programs, public transportation and e-mobility.
Vice President addressed the Indian Community of Costa Rica in San Jose. He complimented the members of the diaspora in Costa Rica for the esteem that they have won for themselves and India because of their high professional competence. He spoke about the phenomenal growth that India has been witnessing in the last few years and suggested that the diaspora can further accelerate India’s growth momentum.
The Vice President said that India has been a votary of peace and non-violence from time immemorial. He strongly condemned the destructive forces of terrorism that continue to be a festering challenge, distracting our attention from development. ‘Peace will not thrive if the forces of terror continue their unchecked run’, he asserted.
Vice President’s visit to Paraguay was the first ever highest-level visit to the land logged central American nation. On his visit, he was received by Hugo Saguier, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paraguay.
Vice President held discussions with the President of Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benitez at Palacio de Gobierno.
“Had a fruitful meeting with President of #Paraguay HE Abdo Benitez. He recalled a visit to India. He stated that Indian economic growth is contributing to world growth. He condemned the terrorist attack on India & said that India can count on Paraguay in its fight against #terrorism,” said the Vice President on Twitter after the meeting.
Vice President held a tête-à-tête with the Vice President of the Republic of Paraguay Hugo Velazquez. He also interacted with the business community in Paraguay and paid homage to fallen soldiers by placing a wreath at National Pantheon of Heroes.
Both sides agreed that terrorism posed a grave threat to global peace and stability, stressing that there could be no justification for acts of terror on any grounds whatsoever. Outlining a common desire to take an uncompromising stand against terror, India and Paraguay have agreed to cooperate to deal with the menace of terror.
During the Delegation Level Talks, the Paraguayan leadership decried the brutal terrorist attack that took place in Pulwama. The leadership of Paraguay said that they were on the same page as India as far as the issue of terrorism is concerned and extended heartfelt condolences to those who had lost their loved ones in the Pulwama terror attack. They stated that India could always count on Paraguay´s support in the fight against terrorism and in voicing India’s concerns on terrorism in the international fora.
Vice President Naidu during his interactions, particularly emphasized the scourge of cross border terrorism in India and stressed upon the need to take strong measures against terrorists, terror organizations, their networks and all those who encourage, support, finance and provide safe haven to terrorists and terror groups.
Paraguay’s leadership affirmed its support for a U.N. Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism proposed by India. Furthermore, Paraguay assured that they would support India’s candidature to various UN and other multilateral bodies including the permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council.
Vice President Naidu emphasized that Paraguay was an important partner of India in the Latin American and Caribbean region and said that the bilateral relations between the two nations have been showing an upward trend. He opined that India and Paraguay shared common values, interests, aspirations and promising futures.
Observing that there was a feeling of mutual admiration and appreciation among the people of the two nations for each other, Vice President Naidu underscored the deep faith in democracy that both nations held.
The two sides discussed bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest.
Bilateral trade has increased almost ten-fold over the last ten years. They agreed that there is an ever-greater scope to increase trade volume and diversify the trade basket.
Vice President Naidu applauded Paraguay’s decision to join the International Solar Alliance soon, an initiative by India and France, aimed at combating the threats of climate change and global warming.
Paraguay joined India in remembering the contributions of Mahatma Gandhi on the occasion of the 150th Birth Anniversary of the Mahatma. Shri. Naidu along with the Vice President of Paraguay, H.E Hugo Velazquez Jointly unveiled a special commemorative postage stamp today in honour of Mahatma Gandhi. Vice President Naidu requested the leadership of Paraguay to collaborate to install a bust of Mahatma Gandhi at a prominent location in Asuncion.
The Vice President also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Diplomatic and Consular Academy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Paraguay and the Foreign Service Institute, Ministry of External Affairs of the Republic India. Decision was made to task experts from both nations to finalize pending agreements including Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement, Bilateral Investment Treaty and for Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance.
VP Naidu also attended a reception hosted by the members of the Indian Community in Paraguay. He said that the continued interest in India in Paraguay is due to the Indian diaspora. ‘Each member of the Indian Diaspora is a cultural Ambassador’, he observed.
He opined that there is a new dynamism in India’s diaspora policy & outreach and added that there is a much greater connect today between India & the Indian diaspora than ever before. Shri. Naidu said that the Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in Delhi and our Embassies are available round the clock to our people in need. He also spoke about the zeal with which India celebrated the recent Pravasi Bharatiya Divas at Varanasi.
The Vice President underscored the importance of strengthening Parliamentary linkages and invited President of Paraguay Abdo Benítez to visit India at a mutually convenient time.
The Vice President was accompanied by the Minister of State for Culture and Tourism, Alphons Joseph Kannanthanam, the Member of Parliament, Shri Ram Kumar Kashyap and senior officials from Government of India on his visit to both the countries