India is considering a proposal to confer the Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Peace and Reconciliation to Colombia’s president Juan Manuel Santos for his efforts to end a 52-year-old-war with Marxist rebels.
This marks India’s move towards condemning terror and sending a message to world leaders that the country stands up for peace and supports endeavours promoting global peace.
The Colombian leader, who won the 2016 Nobel prize for peace and has been following the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, had put his political career on the bloc when he participated in the peace process with FARC (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia).
A senior diplomat from the Indian embassy in Colombia, told FE, “In 2014, he was perhaps the first among world leaders to send greetings to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Gandhi Jayanti. During the election campaigning for his elections President Santos has talked about peace, equality, and education. And on being elected he has been fulfilling all his promises, making him one of the few global leaders who fulfil their election promises.”
When peace returns to the South American nation, Colombia’s GDP would grow at twice its current pace. If the conflict stops, foreign direct investment would rise from the current $12 billion to $36 billion.
Also, with peace in place, firm decisions could be taken to expand ties. India is planning to increase crude oil imports from Colombia by 20-30%. ONGC Videsh, which is currently holding seven blocks in Colombia, intends to expand its presence in the country.
Union minister for petroleum and natural gas Dharmendra Pradhan had also visited oil fields where Indian firms have stakes. The national oil companies of both nations are working towards expanding business in the oil and gas sector, where New Delhi is looking to making a strong footing in exploration and production of Colombia, while Bogota eyes selling more crude oil to Indian refineries to meet the increasing demand in the Asian nation.