Seeking to expand bilateral dialogue and cooperation comprehensively to take it to the strategic partnership level, the new government in Argentina is seeking deeper cooperation with India in a wide range of sectors including hydrocarbon, nuclear energy, space and agriculture. The country is the first-ever South American nation to host the G20 summit.
Later this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have bilateral level discussions with Argentine President Mauricio Macri on the sidelines of the G-20. Also, President Macri is expected to visit India in January 2019; a few agreements are in the pipeline to be inked.
Talking exclusively to FE, Daniel Chuburu, ambassador of Argentina to India, said: “We can make our relations more strategic. Both India and Argentina can cooperate in various sectors including agriculture, nuclear energy, space research and aviation, mining (lithium, gold and copper), pharmaceuticals and automobiles.”
Responding to a question about India’s food security, the envoy said that, “Today 90% of Argentina’s exports to India comprise only soya oil and we are working to diversify this trade basket. Argentina has developed cutting-edge farm technologies and biotechnologies which can help India improve agriculture productivity and reduce post-harvest losses of farm produce, as well as easing of phytosanitary norms.”
Chuburu added, “There are ongoing discussions between the two countries on various projects in the agriculture sector including pulses. We have also been able to introduce new products here in India, including 2,000 tonne of apples and pears.”
About the expansion of the India-MERCOSUR Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), the envoy said that the talks are progressing well and hoped that these are concluded soon. The expansion of the agreement will be of strategic importance to boost trade relations between the countries involved and the trade volume target is set at $30 billion in 2030.
As reported earlier by FE, “Both sides have agreed that there is an urgent need to significantly increase the number of tariff lines in the existing India-MERCOSUR PTA so that the agreement could cover a sizeable proportion of bilateral trade.”
According to the envoy, the new government has opened the mining sector for FDI. Lithium is the major raw material for batteries used in electric cars and India has set a goal to shift to manufacture of electric vehicles on a large scale by 2030.
With a nuclear agreement between the two countries in place, Argentina is offering to set up small nuclear plants in India, which is trying to increase the share of nuclear power in its energy mix.
ONGC-OVL and the state-owned oil company of Argentina are in an advanced stage of discussion to explore investment opportunities in newly-discovered reserves of shale gas and shale oil, he added.
He also said that there is potential for bilateral collaboration in the satellite sector for space and radar technologies in the aviation sector.