Latin America keen to work with India for food security

April 25th, 2008 - 6:02 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil
By Liz Mathew
On Board Air India One, April 25 (IANS) Latin American countries are interested in further cooperating with India in the agriculture sector to work towards food security, President Pratibha Patil said on her way back from a three-nation tour of the region. Patil, who visited Brazil, Mexico and Chile in the last 12 days, described her visit as “extremely fruitful” and said she was “deeply satisfied”.

The president, who did not interact with the media and went back to her suite as journalists started asking questions, read out a statement instead.

She said India and Latin American countries could work together in the fields of IT, bio-technology, tourism and energy.

“I found great interest in them to further developing operations with India in the agriculture sector. This is an area of importance, especially in the light of our common objective of continuing food security for our countries,” she said.

Officials said later that Mexico and India were likely to work together for a second green revolution in both countries.

According to Patil, the main objective of her maiden foreign visit was to “underline, at the highest level, that India’s enhanced engagement in recent years with the countries of Latin America is here to stay.

“There is respect for India’s growing role in international affairs and a keen desire to engage with India in a meaningful and cross-sectoral manner… There are many similarities between India and the countries visited. We also face similar challenges, domestically and internationally.” she said

Patil added: “Our dialogue was, therefore, focussed and relevant to our respective needs.”

She pointed out that all the three nations she visited were facing similar challenges “domestically and internationally”.

Ten agreements were signed — four each with Brazil and Chile and two with Mexico — in the areas of civil aviation, agriculture, science and technology, and sports as part of the process of deepening New Delhi’s partnership with these countries.

“My visit has served to renew contacts and to strengthen our ’strategic partnership’ with Brazil and the ‘privileged partnership’ with Mexico. Chile and India are ‘natural partners’ and our cooperation is poised to develop further. It is our intention to enhance our relations in an across-the-board manner with all three countries, be it in trade, investment, infrastructure, agriculture, science and technology, education, energy, health care and culture.

“We are determined to overcome connectivity problems and take other necessary steps to facilitate the development of our ties, including people-to-people contacts,” she said.

The visit was also significant as it was for the first time a business delegation accompanied the president on a foreign tour. “This underlined our determination to provide a strong trade and economic foundation to our growing relationships with them,” she said.

“In all these countries, I found great interest in exchanging experiences and learning from each other’s programmes and activities to build more inclusive societies. This is particularly important in plural democratic societies such as ours. In this perspective, we also shared views on our approaches to the empowerment of women,” Patil said in her statement.

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