India to work with Latin America to strengthen developing countries: Patil

April 12th, 2008 - 11:51 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil
(Lead, Changing dateline)
By Liz Mathew
On Board Air India Special Aircraft, April 12 (IANS) India will work together with the Latin American countries on a common platform so that the voice of the developing countries be heard in the international arena, said Indian President Pratibha Patil who began her visit to Brazil, Mexico and Chile Saturday. “The three countries share similar views on various issues such as climate change, need for South-South cooperation, the Doha development round (of trade talks), fight against terrorism and reform of the UN,” Patil told the media accompanying her in her 12-day tour to the Latin American countries.

“We want the voice of these countries to be heard in the international arena so that problems of the developing countries can be solved,” said Patil, who is on her maiden foreign visit as president.

Pointing out that India has strong trade and economic ties with these countries despite the impediments in connectivity, Patil said her visit was aimed at “strengthening the relations”.

“The purpose of my visit is to strengthen the developing relations and to add more impetus to the partnership,” she added.

Patil, the first woman president of India, will meet Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Mexican President Felipe de Jesus Calderon Hinojosa and Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet during her visit.

Non-Conventional Energy Minister Vilasrao Muttemwar is accompanying the president on her tour.

A cheerful looking Patil, dressed in a colourful silk sari with her head covered, said she was “glad to visit the three nations” that are “pluralistic in nature, great democracies and have many things in common” with India.

During her visit, India will sign at least nine agreements in areas such as agriculture, civil aviation, science and technology and renewable energy with the three countries.

At least three agreements are expected to be signed with Brazil, two with Mexico and four with Chile, officials accompanying the president said.

Although India will engage in discussions with Brazil over cooperation in bio-fuel production, the president said India will take a final decision on the usage of sugar for ethanol production - in which Brazil is a pioneer - only after proper discussions.

Asked if India would go for ethanol production out of food grains - cited as a major reason for the shortage of food grains in the world - Patil said: “It is a matter of concern. Experts will come together and discuss it.”

Eighty percent of two million cars made in Brazil have flexi-fuel engines, helping the country reduce its requirement of petrol sustainability. It has also emerged as the lowest cost producer and leading global exporter of ethanol.

Patil will have a stopover in Lisobon Saturday evening from where she will proceed to Sao Paulo. On Sunday she will attend a reception by the Indian community there. On Monday, Patil will meet delegates of FIESP (Industry Federation of the State of S

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