Argentine president to visit India Nov 13-15

October 6th, 2009 - 4:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha Patil New Delhi, Oct 6 (IANS) With India and Latin American nations warming up to each other like never before, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will pay a three-day visit to India this month with a 50-member business delegation.
The delegation arrives here Oct 13 and leaves Mumbai Oct 15 during which a host of bilateral agreements are expected to be signed, including on to liberalise the visa regime for the businesses of each side, officials said.

Besides calling on President Pratibha Patil, the Argentine head of state is also expected to hold official talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and meet Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

The visit also coincides with a wine promotion event and native music recitals planned by Argentine firms Oct 9-22 in several Indian cities, including the national capital, Bangalore, Mumbai, Lucknow and Gurgaon.

“The global crisis and the consequent local resource and credit crunch have made Latin American importers look more towards less expensive sources such as India,” said India’s Ambassador to Argentina, R. Viswanathan, ahead of the visit.

“The crisis has opened a new window of opportunity for Indian companies to acquire assets and farmland in the region since the prices are lower at this time,” added Viswanathan, who is also India’s envoy to Uruguay and Paraguay.

His reference was also to a recent study that showed that India’s trade with the Latin American countries jumped 46 percent last year to $16 billion - or three times the growth logged for trade between US-Latin America.

“This could go up to $30 billion by 2012 given the positive change in the market of Latin America and the favourable mindset of Latin Americans towards India,” the Indian envoy predicted.

With Argentina, India’s bilateral trade was worth $1.33 billion in 2008, with exports of goods $429 million and imports worth $836 million, as per data available with the Indian embassy in Argentina.

Indian companies, including Tata Consultancy Services, ICICI Bank and HCL, have invested $9 billion in Latin America in areas like IT, steel, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and mining, the embassy said.

To promote cultural ties, the Indian mission there is also organising a 10-day festival of Indian films, food, dances and handicrafts in Argentina beginning Nov 5.

The mission is also organising a raffle of five air-tickets to India with the help of Air France, South African Airways and British Airways to promote tourism into India.

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