On Sunday, the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties between India and Argentina, Argentine President Mauricio Macri and First Lady Juliana Awada landed in Delhi for a state visit to India.
President Macri is accompanied by a delegation comprising Argentine Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Emilio Monzo, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Jorge Faurie, Government Secretary of Modernization Andrés Ibarra, Government Secretary of Agriculture Luis Etchevehere, and other senior officials, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
President Macri also brings representatives of Argentine businesses in energy, mining, pharmaceuticals, and more.
Over the next three days, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Macri will discuss bilateral relations in trade, tech research, agriculture, and tourism. The MEA said, “This visit will provide an opportunity to the two sides to review progress in bilateral ties and explore new avenues of cooperation.”
President Ram Nath Kovind will also host a banquet in President Macri’s honour.
On Monday, President Macri had a day of official engagements. He was welcomed at Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi with a Guard of Honour and paid a floral tribute at the Samadhi (tomb) of Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat. He also addressed the press jointly with Modi.
Modi has interacted with President Macri previously at the 2018 G20 Summit; he also formally received the latter at Hyderabad House, where the two countries’ delegations had a high-level talk on commerce, culture and tourism, pharmaceuticals, and agriculture.
MEA reports that India and Argentina already have trade relations worth $3 billion. Indian exports to Argentina include two-wheeled vehicles, agro and organic chemicals, iron, steel, yarn, and drugs. From Argentina, India imports soya bean and sunflower oils, leather, cereals, pulses, and residual chemicals.
Indian companies have also invested close to $1 billion in Argentina’s IT, pharmaceutical, and cosmetics sectors, according to the MEA. President Macri said that to boost bilateral trade between the two countries, Argentina must diversify its exports, support privatisation, and promote Indian investments.
He also said Argentina is able to provide food security in India. “Argentina is the 7th largest food producer globally, with some of the highest agricultural productivity levels in the world; we are a global leader in agricultural technology,” he added.
Modi tweeted that he and President Macri “agree that terrorism is a very serious threat to global peace and stability”. Modi added that they broke new ground in commerce and signed an MoU for defence cooperation.
On Monday, Faurie signed the Framework Agreement of International Solar Alliance, as well. President Macri earlier mentioned a possible partnership in energy and mining, including research on renewable power sources like solar and lithium mining.
Modi said, “India and Argentina complement each other in many ways. It is our endeavour to take full advantage of them for mutual interest.”
China’s in the picture too
Argentina and China share amicable relations in e-commerce, transport, energy, technology, and education. Argentina also imports goods worth $12.3 billion in China and exports worth almost $5 billion. However, experts have said this relationship is “lopsided”, meaning that China currently benefits more from Argentina. Indian-Argentine relations are more balanced in comparison.
For China, Argentina has emerged as an important hedge against US influence, particularly in food imports and nuclear power. Asia News says that “growing tensions between China and the United States are benefiting the Latin American region, because Beijing has cut imports from the United States and is buying food products from Argentina and Brazil”.
Similarly, for India, Latin American countries like Argentina are key in global politics because they provide alternatives to influencers like China and US.
Rhea Arora is a staff writer at Qrius
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