Looking forward to augmenting relationships with all nations of the Latin American Region, External Affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar has embarked on a three-nation visit. During the Minister’s meeting with top leaderships of these three countries as well as his counterpart, focus will be on food and energy security, defence and security, space, IT, and aerospace. This is the minister’s first visit to the South American Region when he travels to Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina starting August 22-27. The minister, accompanied by senior officials, will have bilateral engagements with his counterparts and will also call on the top leadership in all the three countries.
Azenda In The Meetings:
During his visits to Brazil and Argentina, the minister will co-chair the Joint Commission Meetings (JCM) with his counterparts, where the focus will be to review the bilateral relationships in different sectors and will also discuss regional and global issues of common interests. Both Brazil and Argentina are strategic partners of India. Also on the agenda of his visit to these countries to meet and interact with the Indian communities as well as business leaders.
Importance of the visit to these countries:
Since September 2021, Jaishankar visited four important countries in the region. Last year in September he visited Mexico. And, this visit to three countries in a week is expected to provide an opportunity to explore new avenues for cooperation post-pandemic.
India-Brazil: The Major Partnership
Ahead of the Minister’s visit, navies of both the countries had their first bilateral drill Maritime Partnership Exercise (MPX) in which INS Tarkash with Brazilian Naval Ship Uniao, a Niteroi class frigate.
- According to the Indian Navy, during the exercise of the two navies the focus was honing inter-operability and further strengthening diplomatic and maritime ties between the two countries. In two decades this was the first deployment of an Indian Navy ship to South America and navies of both countries participated in multifaceted operations which included tactical manoeuvres, cross deck landing, and replenishment at sea approaches.
- INS Tarkash, which is deployed in the Atlantic, was in Brazil to unfurl the tricolour on August 15 at Rio de Janeiro, as part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations. During the celebrations on board the guided missile frigate, the President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro visited the ship, and interacted with the crew and other dignitaries on board.
India-Argentina: The Crucial One
Food security, including edible oil, expansion of the existing MERCOSUR-India PTA is among some of the issues that are going to be discussed including Argentina’s interest in space cooperation.
Sunflower Oil from Argentina
India is disproportionately dependent on Ukraine for its sunflower oil requirements. In the last 4 years about 9.40 million metric tonnes of Sunflower oil was imported by India out of which 81%, i.e. 7.60 million metric tonne was imported from Ukraine and the balance came from Argentina and other countries. And post the Russia Ukraine conflict more Argentine Sunflower has started coming in.