India – Latin America Relations

India – Latin America Relations 

Recently India and Central American countries like Panama will form joint working groups to advance energy partnership. This is a sign of strong cooperation in the energy sector.

  • Similar working groups on tourism, pharmaceuticals and women’s empowerment will also be set up during the visit of the External Affairs Minister of India to the Central American region.
  • Latin America is understood to include the entire continent of South America, as well as Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean islands.

Cooperation between India and Latin America

  • Economic: In the year 2021-22, the bilateral trade had reached about 50 billion dollars. The main products of export from India include pharma, automobiles, synthetic yarn and software.
  • Energy: The supply of crude oil from Latin America reduces India’s dependence on the Middle East. Thus the sector contributes to the energy security of India.
  • Trade Agreements: India has entered into Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) with MERCOSUR. Mercosur is a South American grouping of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
  • Emergency Assistance: India has actively provided prompt assistance to Latin American countries (LACs) during emergencies such as hurricanes and the COVID pandemic.

Challenges Inherent in India-Latin America Relations:

  • India does not have much diplomatic relations with Latin American countries,
  • Lack of bilateral contact,
  • The presence of Indian institutions in Latin America is less,
  • Languages create barriers to strengthen ties between India and Latin America etc.
  • The FOCUS LAC program was launched by the Ministry of Commerce in 1997. The objective was to focus on institutional mechanisms, better market access and economic infrastructure.

Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Region

Latin America is usually understood to include Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean islands, as well as the entire continent of South America. It includes 33 countries.

Major Economic Blocks:

  • Mercosur: Southern shared economy consisting of five countries in southern Latin America: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
  • CARICOM: The Caribbean Community consists of 19 island groups: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.
  • CAN: The Andean Community consists of four countries: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
  • SICA: The Central American Integration System consists of seven countries: Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama

Source – The Hindu

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