The Paraguay and Costa Rica visits of Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu are aimed at advancing India’s outreach to the countries of Central America while pushing trade and investment in ICT, renewable energy, education, healthcare and space exploration
New Delhi: Vice -President M Venkaiah Naidu embarked on a visit to Paraguay on Tuesday (5-7 March). He is scheduled to be in the Republic of Costa Rica , March 7-9. This is the first high-level visit from India to both countries.
The vice-president is being accompanied by a high-level delegation including minister of state for tourism KJ Alphons, Members of Parliament and senior officials from the Union government.
While the then President Fernando Lugo of Paraguay had visited India in May 2012, this is the first-ever VVIP visit from India to Paraguay. Ministerial exchanges and those of other levels have taken place from time to time. The vice-president will meet with President of Paraguay Mario Abdo Benítez, Vice-President Hugo Velázquez and President of the National Congress (Senate) Silvio Ovelar.
Naidu will address the India-Paraguay business forum and interact with the Indian diaspora in Paraguay.
India and Paraguay traditionally share warm and friendly ties. Trade is one of the main drivers of the relations. Bilateral trade has increased almost ten fold over the last 10 years and reached $ 334 million in 2017-18 from $ 40 million in 2008-09.
The main export items from India to Paraguay include iron and steel, plastics, chemicals, vehicles and auto parts. Paraguay’s exports to India comprise mainly vegetable oil, oils and resinoids, and aluminum.
Brand India in the automobile sector has a strong presence in Paraguay.
Visit of Vice-President Naidu to the Republic of Costa Rica would be the first ever high-level visit from India. Former Second Vice President of Costa Rica Ana Helena Chacon Echeverria had visited India in October 2015. There have been other exchanges between the two countries at periodic intervals.
Engagements of the vice-president in Costa Rica will include meetings with President of Costa Rica Carlos Alvarado Quesada, first Vice-President Epsy Campbell Barr as well as President of Congress Carolina Hidalgo Herrera.
Naidu will address the prestigious University of Peace, established under the auspices of the United Nations with a specific mandate of furthering the agenda of peace. He will deliver the keynote address at the India-Costa Rica business forum; and meet with the Indian community in Costa Rica.
India and Costa Rica enjoy long-standing relations of friendship and cooperation, which are being strengthened by the growing commercial engagement between the two countries. Bilateral trade between India and Costa Rica is to the tune of $ 200 mn. Indian exports to Costa Rica total $ 133 mn with auto, motorcycles and pharma figuring among top exports. Imports from Costa Rica are mainly teakwood. With a commitment to become carbon-neutral country by 2021, Costa Rica has joined the International Solar Alliance.
The visit of the vice-president to the two countries is to advance India’s outreach to the important countries in the region. This visit will provide an opportunity to provide impetus to bilateral relations in trade and investment, ICT, renewable energy including hydel, education, healthcare, space and people-to-people.
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Last Updated Mar 6, 2019, 9:59 AM IST