India, Chile to add new momentum to ties; looking at firming up investment protection pact

New Delhi, Oct 16 (PTI) India and Chile on Friday agreed to add new momentum in their cooperation in a wide-range of areas including trade, defence, energy, agriculture, mining and science and technology.

A comprehensive review of the bilateral cooperation was carried out at a virtual meeting of the India-Chile Joint Commission which was co-chaired by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chilean counterpart Allamand Zavala.

Official sources said both sides are also looking at firming up a bilateral investment protection treaty.

In 2017, India had expanded its preferential trade agreement with Chile that resulted in boosting of bilateral trade ties. At present, Chile is the fifth largest trading partner of India in the Latin America and the Caribbean region.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), in a statement, said both sides discussed the future trajectory of their wide-ranging engagements in the meeting.

“They agreed to add new momentum to the relations of the two countries in the fields of trade and commerce, agriculture, health and social security, defence, space, science and technology, energy, mining, culture and education, disaster management and cooperation in Antarctica amongst others,” the MEA said.

It said India welcomed Chile’s decision to designate India as a priority country in its foreign policy, adding the country will also be opening its Consulate General in Mumbai.

Chile has control of a large part of Antarctica and has a very large maritime boundary, having the distinction of being the longest country in the world.

The sources said that in addition to discussions on the bilateral investment protection treaty, the two sides also deliberated on further expansion of the preferential trade agreement.

They said there was a discussion on export of generic medicines from India to Chile and that an MoU on it is in the final stages.

In the meeting, the two sides exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, especially in the context of the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

“The external affairs minister underlined the prime minister’s vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ for enhancing resilience through self-reliance and human-centric globalisation as the basis for India’s economic revival,” the MEA said.

It said Jaishankar invited Chile to take advantage of India’s new economic capacities and growing market.

“Based on their convergence of views on many global and regional issues, both sides agreed to coordinate closely at the multilateral fora,” the MEA said.

It was the first meeting held under the framework of India-Chile Joint Commission.