India's foreign minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar, speaks at the India-Colombia Business Forum in Bogota on 27 April 2023. EFE/Carlos Ortega

Foreign minister touts India’s growing LatAm ties at forum in Colombia

Bogota, Apr 27 (EFE).- India’s minister of external affairs offered here Thursday a forecast of burgeoning economic links between his country and Latin America.

India's foreign minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar (R), chats with Colombia's minister of trade, industry, and tourism, German Umaña, at an event in Bogota on 27 April 2023. EFE/Carlos Ortega
(i), ministro de Comercio Industria y Turismo de Colombia durante un encuentro con Representantes de Procolombia, la Cámara de Comercio de Bogotá y el Ministerio de Comercio, en Bogotá (Colombia). EFE/Carlos Ortega

“Our purpose in being here today is to highlight the growing presence of India in Latin America. Trade volumes between us are approaching the $50 billion level annually. Our companies are investing significantly in the region,” Dr. S. Jaishankar told attendees at the India-Colombia Business Forum in Bogota.

India's foreign minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar, speaks at the India-Colombia Business Forum in Bogota on 27 April 2023. EFE/Carlos Ortega

The first Indian foreign minister to visit Colombia was accompanied by executives from 35 companies, many of them with established operations in the Andean nation.

“Indian companies are executing projects in Latin America, including in infrastructure, power transmission and mining. We are also delivering products in the shipping and aviation domain,” Jaishankar said.

He noted that India-Brazil trade currently amounts to nearly $17 billion a year, while the annual value of the South Asian giant’s trade with Colombia is about $4 billion.

Looking to increase that figure, Jaishankar sought to highlight “domains where India has made particular advances in recent years.”

“Health and pharmaceuticals are on top of this list. During the Covid pandemic, India truly established that it was the pharmacy of the world. And it did so by supplying almost 100 countries with vaccines and 150 countries – including from the developed world – with increased supply of relevant medicines,” he said.

“If we are looking at more sources, regionalized production and competitive pricing, I would suggest to our Colombian friends that Indian industry is your natural partner,” the foreign minister added.

“Energy is also an important domain of convergence. There have been significant investments in the oil sector by India and energy actually forms the core of Colombia’s exports to India,” he said. “India will be driving much of the additional demand in fossil fuel in the coming decades. That makes a stronger case for more sustained partnerships.”

Petroleum makes up 72 percent of Colombian exports to India, according to figures from Colombia’s Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Tourism.

Colombia was the third stop on a Latin America tour that previously took Jaishankar to Guyana and Panama. He was set to leave Bogota later Thursday for the Dominican Republic. EFE