Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday said his recent visit to the three Latin American countries of Guatemala, Panama and Peru, addressed India’s “high-level contact deficit” with the region.
The visit, he said, would also help in improving bilateral trade and investments.
He briefed the media in Frankfurt, Germany before leaving for New Delhi after concluding his week-long visit.
“High level visits by Indian leaders to identified countries and regions of the world are affirmative statements of intent to enhance cooperation for mutual benefit…India has embarked on such engagements over the last four years and this visit is a part of that well thought-out outreach. This is in line with India’s vision for a better world through collective actions for shared benefits,” Naidu said.
The Vice President explained that the three Latin American countries offered significant opportunities to India, given their high level of engagement with the US and the other North and South American economies.
Naidu further 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 Shri K R 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.”
The top leadership of the three countries, is said to have acknowledged the strengths and expertise of India in various fields, including its fast growing economy.
A total of five MoUs and agreements were signed. They relate to training of diplomats and English teachers of Guatemala, exemption of visas for diplomatic, official and consular passport holders of India and Panama, a work plan for cooperation in agricultural research and cooperation in new and renewable energy with Peru.
During the talks with Panamanian leaders, Naidu also announced a total of USD 25 million line of credit for setting up of a centre of bio-diversity and drug tracking, and a Centre for Innovation and Technology.
The Indian delegation highlighted the help India could provide to the three nations in areas of agriculture, IT, science and technology, space applications, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and new and renewable energies. It was also noted that all three nations suffered from various forms of terrorism and supported India’s global efforts to check terrorism.
“They firmly reiterated support to India’s permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council as the largest democracy of the world and an important voice on global issues,” he said.