The two countries also decided to work towards South-South cooperation and reform of the United Nations Security Council.

Besides boosting trade and strengthening economic ties, India and Peru have decided to enhance cooperation in the defence sector and work towards South-South cooperation and reform of the United Nations Security Council.

At the conclusion of the high-level delegation talks in connection with the visit of the Indian Vice-President Hamid Ansari to Peru, the two countries on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a Joint Commission to promote bilateral relations. The commission, to be chaired jointly by the Foreign Ministers of the two countries, will aim to strengthen cooperation in areas such as political relations, security concerns, human resource development, economic partnership, and science and technology.

Senior officials will meet in Lima in the latter half of next year to decide on the modalities for beginning the work of the commission and preparing for its first meeting. The commission, according to the joint statement issued at the end of the visit, is part of efforts to promote bilateral dialogue in order to take the relationship to a “higher level.”

Besides the MoU on the Joint Commission, the two countries signed three agreements, including one on defence cooperation and prevention of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, in the presence of Mr. Ansari and his Peruvian counterpart Marisol Espinoza. This is intended to enhance cooperation in the field of defence technology through the setting up of appropriate mechanisms.

According to Secretary (West) Dinkar Khullar, the Peruvians were keen on training for their defence personnel in India. Slots had been offered in the Defence Services Staff College,Wellington. Also, since the Peruvians had large Russian military equipment, they looked forward to India being able to supply spares.

Peru reiterated its support for India’s claim for permanent membership in an expanded United Nations Security Council. Both countries agreed to maintain coordination on matters of mutual interest such as reform of the UN and support for each other’s candidatures presented to international organisations.

The joint statement also spoke of the willingness of the two countries to identify concrete actions that generate a structured exchange of experiences at the level of South-South cooperation.

India’s Minister of State for Human Resource Development Jitin Prasada and Peru’s Foreign Minister Eda Rivas Franchini signed an Exchange Programme on Cooperation in the Field of Education to facilitate the funding of scholarships, projects and joint agreements for developing human resources of both countries.

A Letter of Intent for cooperation in cultural matters was also signed on the occasion. This will allow for cooperation in the fields of museology, and conservation of movable cultural properties, and for promotion of each other’s cultural heritage.

The two countries will cooperate in the application of information technologies and technological innovation to increase development opportunities in the use of science for equality and social and digital inclusion in Peru. The Peruvian government welcomed India’s willingness to cooperate in the exchange of experience and good practices necessary to implement projects under the Science for Equity, Empowerment and Development programme.

India, in turn, assured Peru that its process to establish the Centre of Excellence in Information Technology, which will help train key technical personnel of Peru for management of information technologies, was in the final stages.

Both governments underscored the need to strengthen people-to-people relations, and agreed to explore the possibility of promoting sister-city relationships between the most representative cities in the two countries.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mr. Prasada said he had had fruitful and productive deliberations and exchange of ideas during the visit. On the programme on cooperation in education, he said he shared Peru’s commitment to inclusive growth, ensuring children are not left behind in education, and providing equal opportunities to the underprivileged and marginalised sections. India, he said, was happy to contribute in the field of technology and human resources development.

Ms. Franchini said Peru wanted to increase opportunities for children and close the gap in equality.

During his visit, which also marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of relations with Peru, Mr. Ansari had a special meeting with the Peruvian President Ollanta Humala Tasso and invited him to pay an official visit to India. The invitation was accepted and mutually convenient dates would be finalised later. The Vice-President also had discussions with Ms. Espinoza and Ms. Franchini, and also with the Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism, Magali Silva.