Indian MPs call for enhanced relations with Latin America

June 21st, 2008 - 12:57 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) Indian MPs have called for enhanced relationship with Latin American countries based on common economic needs and challenges. During a meeting of the parliamentary consultative committee on external affairs, foreign ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna said MPs agreed that there had been geographical distance and language constraints on the growth of relations with Latin America in the past.

“Due to such constraints, relationship has not grown as fast as it could have, but now a substance has been regularly added (to the relationship) over the last few years,” he said.

“Distance is no longer a barrier. Besides there is a political desire to enhance the bilateral relationship,” added Sarna.

Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who attended the meeting, told MPs that India shared common objective of achieving inclusive growth through democratic systems with Latin American countries.

He pointed out that there had been series of high-level visits by heads of states of Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela and Chile in the last few years, with visits by the Colombian, Argentine and Brazilian presidents expected this year.

On the economic side, Mukherjee suggested that countries like Brazil have vast tracks of un-utilised arable land that can be useful for India’s quest for oil seeds, lentils and other aspects of food security.

“Indian companies like OVL, Essar and Reliance have been active in oil and gas exploitation, while other Indian companies have been active in pharmaceuticals, health, agriculture and food processing,” Mukherjee he said.

The total trade volume of India with Latin America is $10.2 billion from April 2007 to February 2008.

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