Deepening India’s diplomatic presence in Latin America, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar will officially inaugurate the premises of the Indian Embassy in the Paraguayan capital Asuncion next week. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the ceremony would take place during Mr. Jaishankar’s August 22-27 three-nation tour covering Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.
“The External Affairs Minister’s visit to these three countries will provide an opportunity to continue the ongoing high-level engagements with our partners in Latin American countries, explore new areas of cooperation in the post-pandemic era, and exchange views on issues of bilateral and international significance,” said the MEA in a statement. The Indian embassy in Paraguay began functioning since January this year.
The announcement was made hours after Mr. Jaishankar hosted the envoys of the group of Latin America and the Caribbean countries in New Delhi following which he said in a social media post, “So much potential for growing our cooperation. Encourage their efforts to realizing it fully. Thanked them for their perspectives and insights as I head to the region tonight.”
Mr. Jaishankar will co-chair the Joint Commission Meetings (JCM) with his counterparts and review the whole range of issues in diverse fields and discuss “bilateral and global issues of common interests”, said the MEA in the announcement. He will also meet with business leaders and Indian communities in all the three countries. The Minister will deliver a speech at the Rio Branco Institute (Brazilian Diplomatic Academy) during the visit.
The high-level interactions in Argentina and Brazil are significant both from bilateral and multilateral angles for India. Argentina’s Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero visited India in April when he sought New Delhi’s support in advancing his country’s territorial claims over the Falklands issue. That apart, Argentina has emerged as a big supplier of agricultural items as India has been diversifying sources in the backdrop of the crisis in Ukraine. Both Argentine and Brazilian leaders are expected to visit India next year when New Delhi will host the G20 summit.
Argentina attended the recent BRICS summit hosted by China where it began the process of joining the multilateral organisation as BRICS is expected to enlarge by bringing in more countries on board. Mr Jaishankar’s three-nation tour is likely to boost India’s dialogue with the Latin American trade bloc MERCOSUR. India and MERCOSUR have a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) since 2005 and talks are currently on to broaden trade ties between the two sides.