Manmohan to meet Chile’s first woman president Tuesday

March 16th, 2009 - 4:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, March 16 (IANS) With his health improving by the day after a coronary bypass surgery seven weeks ago, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will meet Chile’s first woman president Michelle Bachelet here Tuesday.
President Pratibha Patil will host a state banquet and cultural programme for Bachelet Monday night, commemorating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Chile.

Manmohan Singh will hold talks with Bachelet Tuesday afternoon on a wide range of bilateral and regional issues, including the expansion of economic and political ties between the two countries.

A slew of agreements in areas ranging from education, IT, trade and investment to geology, renewable energy and use of space for peaceful purposes are expected to be signed after the talks between the two leaders.

This will be the first time Manmohan Singh will be going to Hyderabad House for a meeting with a visiting foreign dignitary after he underwent a coronary bypass surgery Jan 24. He held talks with Benin President Bon Yayi at his 7 Race Course residence March 10.

Bachelet, a doctor by training and a single mother who broke many political traditions by becoming the first woman president of Chile three years ago, will also go to Agra, Mumbai and Chennai.

Bachelet, who arrived here Monday morning on a five-day visit, is accompanied by ministers of agriculture and women empowerment and a business delegation.

Chile has a special place in India’s relations with Latin America as it was the only country from South America present at the ceremony of India’s independence in 1947.

Patil visited Santiago last year - an important milestone in bilateral ties that saw new understandings in areas as diverse as civil aviation, Antarctica cooperation, science and technology, agriculture and energy.

Bachelet seeks to “strengthen economic and trade ties in the spheres of education, science and technology” with India, said Director General of Foreign Policy of the Chancellery Juan Pablo Lire in Santiago.

Bilateral trade between India and Chile expanded from $586.65 million in 2005-06 to $2 billion in 2007-08. The Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) has estimated that bilateral trade could go up to $5 billion by 2014.

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