India and Argentina to expand strategic partnership and their trade basket
India and Argentina are seeking to further deepen their Strategic Partnership by advancing bilateral cooperation in high technologies in space, nuclear, information and communication technologies, and defence. Both sides have also decided to increase bilateral trade and investments (mining, energy, agribusiness), and enhancing joint efforts to implement current agreements and advance pending negotiations.
On Thursday (Sept 10, 2020) the two countries had the fifth round of Foreign Office Consultations via video conference. While the Indian side was led by Ms Vijay Thakur Singh, Secretary (East), Pablo Anselmo Tettamanti, Deputy Foreign Minister of Argentina, led his side.
A statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) at the end of the meeting states, “During the video conference, the two sides reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral cooperation within the framework of their Strategic Partnership.”
And, cooperation in various sectors including trade and economic cooperation as well as in defence, space, energy, science and technology, pharmaceuticals, and mining were part of the consultation talks. Also, culture, and enhancing people-to-people contacts were on the agenda of talks.
India & Argentina Bilateral Trade
Trade between Argentina and India has grown steadily in recent years, to the extent that India has become Argentina’s fifth trading partner globally and the third one within Asia. “However, there is still great potential to continue to increase the volume of bilateral trade and a challenge, particularly for Argentina, to diversify its exports to India, which nowadays are confined to a few products. In this sense, both sided expressed their intentions to work towards a balanced and mutually-beneficial expansion of trade, focusing on the need to add new products to the bilateral exchanges,” a senior officer told Financial Express Online.
“On another note, Argentina – recognized for its great potential in terms of natural resources and human capital – expressed its wishes to encourage investments by Indian companies in strategic sectors such as – but not limited to – mining and oil & gas” said the senior officer quoted above.
According to reports, last month, Argentina and its main creditor groups reached an agreement, allowing it to exchange 99% of the bonds involved in a $65 billion restructuring. “In effect, the South American nation managed to reach a sustainable agreement with is creditors, without compromising the economic and social development of the country, in a deal that could set a precedent for future sovereign debts crises and places Argentina as an interesting destination for foreign investment” opined a top diplomat.
It is in this context, Argentina is focused on refreshing the attraction of investments in their productive conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon basins, after the country has overcome the issues related to the pandemic. Besides, Argentina considers India as a strategic ally for the development of the Argentine mining sector and both countries have recently inked an agreement, signed by the Indian consortium KABIL with JEMSE, the public company of the Province of Jujuy, for the exploration and exploitation of minerals.
According to MEA, both sides also reviewed the implementation of existing agreements as well as those under negotiation and agreed to take forward the bilateral agenda, including by holding regular meetings of the institutionalised bilateral mechanisms. And, agreed to explore holding of the Joint Commission Meeting at the level of Foreign Ministers, at an early date.
Finally, both countries also exchanged views on regional and international issues of common interest and agreed to enhance cooperation in the multilateral arena. They also shared views and experiences on combating COVID-19 pandemic.
Help during COVID-19
Both sides also expressed their appreciation to each other for mutual cooperation during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Argentine side thanked the Government of India for the assistance provided in April 2020 for the lifting of the restrictions imposed on the exports of Hydroxychloroquine and Paracetamol.
India expressed its appreciation for the assistance of the Government of Argentina by providing a return flight for Indian citizens that were stranded in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay during May 2020.