Aiming to strengthen India’s economic relations with Latin American countries, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will this November host Ecuador President Rafael Correa.
Correa, who will be the first Ecuadorian president to visit India, will arrive here on November 2 accompanied by a senior official and business delegations.
Besides oil, defence and pharmaceuticals, India could look at importing gold and silver from Ecuador, which has gold reserves of 225,000 tonne and produces about 350,000 barrels of oil a day.
Under the Modi government, India is looking at increasing the share of hi-tech and high value-added defence exports to Latin American countries as part of a rejig in its strategy on local defence production.
The commerce ministry has already indicated its intent of moving Indian exports away from shipments of traditional items without much value-addition. In this regard, an incentive scheme is being considered to boost exports of hi-tech and high value-added defence exports in the Foreign Trade Policy for 2014-19.
The two sides had been working on dates since last year. Currently trade between the nations totals $485 million per year, at a ratio of almost 12 to one in favour of Ecuador. Both countries are convinced that they have vast potential for cooperation in various sectors, including crude.
The visit of the Ecuadorian leader is significant for India as that country is holding the Pro-Tempore Presidency of CELAC (the Community of Latin Ameritcan and Caribbean States).
Besides cooperation in the IT sector by India, there have been talks on the expansion of the trade basket, as Ecuador offers a privileged location, extended production diversity, great potential in agri-business, fishery, forestry, mining, tourism and services and has a favourable legislation on foreign investment.
Diplomats on both sides are hopeful that trade figures would double as something is expected to materialise very soon in the oil sector with ONGC Videsh trying to enter into exploration and operation deal in Ecuador.
The government of Ecuador is seeking more investments from the Indian companies in various sectors, including defence, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, food processing, oil refineries and IT. “Since India seeks to invest in Ecuador,