Article 370 and J&K bifurcation: India reaches out to South American nations

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Published: August 22, 2019 10:04:28 PM

The move comes close on the heels of Pakistan raking up the matter with the UNSC, a matter which is internal to India.

Article 370, J&K, J&K bifurcation, India, South America, South American nations, defence newsThe move comes close on the heels of Pakistan raking up the matter with the UNSC, a matter which is internal to India. (Representational image: PTI)

As part of the government’s ongoing diplomatic engagement to convey India’s position on the issue of abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir and the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir, V. Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs has left on a four-nation visit to South America.

Top diplomatic sources have confirmed that the state minister will be visiting Peru, Colombia, Argentina and Dominican Republic over the next one week, where the focus of the meeting is to explain the reasons for the revocation of Article 370 and to build support against Pakistan’s attempts to internationalize the issue.

The move comes close on the heels of Pakistan raking up the matter with the UNSC, a matter which is internal to India.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a three-nation visit including UAE, Bahrain, and France where he will also be meeting with leaders of the G-7 countries, external affairs Minister S Jaishankar too has been traveling to countries in the neighborhood, and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Wednesday left for Russia.

Peru

Muraleedharan is reaching Peru today where the focus of the talks with the top leaders will include explaining steps taken, and also to review the overall relationship with Peru.

The Latin American nation is targeting $80-billion investment for developing various sectors including rail, metro, roads, and port, airport, telecommunications and energy projects. Most of the projects in that country are planned under the PPP model which means that Indian companies have a lot of opportunities to explore.

Peru has been studying India’s PPP model and is trying to replicate the same model with good practices through a partnership with Indian companies. And since Peru has different climates and a great geographical location, India could also look towards it for its food security, explained a diplomat.

Colombia

Though the minister will be transiting through this country, he is still expected to meet top officials to convey India’s position.

Celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations, the two countries have set a bilateral trade target at $ 10 billion to be achieved by 2030. With the South American nation improving its investment and trade climate, talks are going on to finalize the terms of reference for the Partial Scope Trade Agreement.

Argentina

India–Argentina trade which is mere $ 3 billion in the last ten years needs to be further strengthened and when the state minister is there in Buenos Aires, it is expected that the discussion will also include solutions for further improving economic relations. The two countries have already inked agreements in various fields including defense, agriculture, space, pharmaceuticals, Antarctic cooperation, and Nuclear energy.

Argentina is also a member of the MERCOSUR countries which are in discussion with India for the expansion of the India-MERCOSUR Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA). Once this is expanded it is expected to further enhance trade relations between the countries involved, and have set a trade target of $30 billion by 2030.

As has been reported by Financial Express Online earlier, within the framework of a bilateral agreement Argentina based INVAP provides a radioisotope production plant called RPF-India (Radioisotope Production Facility). The main objective is the production of Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) for medical applications.

Under the turnkey modality, it includes the design, manufacture, provision, installation, and commissioning of the Mo-99 production plant of 300 Ci/week of capacity (pre-calibrated to 6 days) to be built in the Bhabha Atomic Center (BARC).

Dominican Republic

Both India and the Dominican Republic are celebrating 20 years of diplomatic relations. Though the trade is not huge between the two, it has picked up over the years.

Envoys were briefed by MEA

Soon after the revocation of Article 370 announcement earlier this month envoys were briefed including the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (P-5), Latin America and Caribbean Countries, ASEAN-member states and non-members.

The non-permanent members of UNSC presently include Belgium, Cote d’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Germany, Indonesia, Kuwait, Peru, Poland, and South Africa. Poland holds the rotating chair for UNSC.

They were told that the steps taken in Jammu and Kashmir were taken to ensure good governance, economic development, and social justice.

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