South American nation Bolivia seeks Indian participation in several infrastructure projects as well as help in water management technologies to deal with drought in that country.
Acknowledging that Bolivia’s relations with India are developing fast, minister for development planning René Orellana told FE in an exclusive interaction that “both countries want to expand relations and we are keen to tap India’s strength in software industry; pharmaceuticals, medicine, healthcare as well as in solar energy and automobile industry.”
“We want Indian companies to participate in PPP projects in port construction, in the railways for the coast-to-coast bi-oceanic train corridor project, agriculture industry and economic cooperation,” Orellana said.
To a question on the dispute with Jindal Steel, Orellana that a settlement with the Jindal group was “almost finished”. “We have received a proposal from the Jindal Group and we are expecting to close the issue shortly.”
“For encouraging foreign investors and to streamline the procedures, we have set up an office of director of foreign investors which will facilitate companies wanting to set up bases in the country. The government has also come out with a legal frame work for international investors which will outline incentives and specific packages for them,” Orellana said.
The landlocked country which has vast reserves of natural gas, and is largely dependent on natural gas and mineral exports, is seeking Indian capital to invest in developing Bolivia’s massive lithium deposits, which account for 60% of the world’s reserves. “Bolivia has large deposits of silver, tin, copper and gold. We are working on agreement to sell gold to India,” Orellana added.
The country, which has been dealing with the worst drought ever due to climate change, is trying to reach out to India for seeking expertise in areas including developing dams, rain water harvesting and waste water management.
Minister for environment & water Alexandra Moreira told FE, “We want new technologies to improve our infrastructure for managing our water. Since India has expertise in areas like water management, water harvesting and transferring water from source, we want to collaborate.”
Bolivia is looking to Peru for access to the Pacific Ocean. To be managed by Bolivia, operation of the port is expected to be awarded under a 30-year concession under PPP.
According to senator of Chuquisaca David Sanchez, “We are keen on Indian companies with expertise in port infrastructure to participate in a new port to be constructed in Peru.”
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“This port is of strategic importance to Bolivia and while there will not be global tender we will be sending our requirements to friendly countries including India. Indian companies should come to analyse the feasibility of port,” added Sanchez, director of the Ports Service Administration.
Besides offering to set up ‘a centre of excellence in technology’ in the central city of Cochabamba, India has offered to train Bolivian teachers in English, and offered scholarships to students, technicians and scientists. India has also offered financing to build a pharmaceutical complex.