India is soon going to extend Euro 100 million Line of Credit (LOC) to the Caribbean nation Cuba. Confirming this, a senior officer told Financial Express Online “Talks are in advanced stages to finalise the LOC of euro 100 million to Cuba. It is being extended in an effort to help the country to meet its food grain shortage and more.” Adding, “The LOC is expected to be handed over later this month.” Once the agreement is finalised, food grains and other edible goods can be exported to that country. Besides wheat, rice, beans, such as chickpeas or mung, black or red beans are also of interest to the Caribbean nation.
India recently provided Cuba with a Line of Credit worth 75 million USD to help with the installation of solar panels. The increased Lines of Credit are just a part of the burgeoning amicability towards LAC. India and LAC are on a path of development and find natural partners in each other. This is apparent with the changing dynamics of their relations.
In an exclusive interaction with Financial Express Online recently, ambassador of Cuba Alejandro Simancas Marín had said that several feasibility studies have been carried out which would offer practical opportunities for Indian companies to invest in Cuba. According to him, the food industry, sugar, renewable energy sectors, agriculture, and light industry are areas where Indian companies have opportunities. The Mariel Special Economic Zone in Cuba offers facilities for investors and serves as a gateway to not only Latin America but also to the Caribbean.
A bit of history
In the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse in the early 1990s, it was food grain and wheat from India that had helped Fidel Castro’s regime. That gesture came to be known as the “Bread of India’’ and it continues to hold a special place in the minds of the Cuban leadership and people.
“India has been gradually but steadily making strides towards establishing deep and lasting relationships with Latin America and the Caribbean. It is only natural that both India and the LAC region see each other as organic partners as both have congruence of several interests. Their colonial histories and their developing economies provide India and Latin America with the common grounds the regions need to build the foundation for a strong and robust relationship. The fact that both regions see eye to eye on issues like cyber security, space exploration, environmental concerns, as the establishment of a more just world order when it comes to global politics gives India and LAC an opportunity to collaborate with each other on many occasions,” opines political analyst Dr Aparaajita Pandey.
According to her, “These opportunities have been recognised by both India and Latin America and the Caribbean, and it is evident by an exponential increase in the number of high-level visits between India and the countries of the LAC region. An increased understanding of the potential of complementing each other seems to have made India and LAC more open to cooperation and collaboration overlooking the traditional obstacles of distance and language.”
“India has also added to its approach towards building relationships with countries and extending Lines of Credit has become a more prominent part of Indian approach to the global south. Since 2014, India’s Lines of Credit to its immediate neighbours has quadrupled. A similar pattern can be observed in Latin America,” she observes.