ICWA is very happy that the First ICWA-PUCP Dialogue is being held today with discussions structured around two themes:
2. We are holding our inaugural dialogue in the backdrop of a complex international environment- the crisis in Ukraine which has impacted global food and fuel security, growing tension in US-China relations, which are seen in the Latin American region; concerns on climate change and the fallouts of the Pandemic. These challenges have an impact on the broad development agenda of India and the countries of Latin America, but also provide the impetus to forge relations between like-minded countries.
3. For India, Latin American and Caribbean region (LAC) with 33 nations and a GDP (PPP terms) of US$ 9.8 trillion is a significant region. It is rich in many resources and minerals, with impressive agricultural and manufacturing sectors and a region with which India seeks to engage more intensely.
4. This commitment can be assessed from the high-level visits to the region from 2014 onwards - President of India visited 6 countries in the region, our Vice President visited 5 countries and PM has visited the region 4 times. There were 2 Presidential visits, 4 Vice Presidential and 1 Prime Minister from the region to India. India’s EAM has just concluded his 3-nation visit to LAC last month.
5. India is today a strong and leading democracy, 5th largest economy in the world, an aspirational nation of 1.4 billion people. India is a leader in information technology, space research, world class medical facilities and pharmaceutical companies etc. We need to weave a matrix of co-operation based on our respective strengths and complementarities.
6. Indian investments in Latin America are estimated at around USD 14 billion, employing about 70,000 people locally. LAC countries have invested about US$ 3 billion. We hope our panellists will focus on how to build networks of collaborations through joint ventures, investments and tie-ups.
7. LAC countries can play an important source for India’s energy and food security needs. Almost 18% of our energy requirement is met from the region and is an important source of pulses and edible oil. Pharmaceuticals, chemicals, vehicles, auto parts, synthetic yarns, software and plastic products are the main exports of India to LAC.
8. In 2021-22, India- LAC trade reached a record US$ 45.2 billion. India is working with the LAC countries to improve the facilitating frameworks for increasing trade. India-Chile PTA and India-MERCOSUR PTA are significant milestones. The process of negotiation for a PTA with Peru has also been initiated.
9. Our countries work together in the NAM, G77 and UN to give a collective voice to the developing world in the international arena.
10. Let me conclude by hoping that the outcome of today’s discussions would be options for new pathways for policy makers for furthering our engagement.