New Delhi: Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar highlighted four key pillars of cooperation between India and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region viz supply chain diversification, resource partnerships, sharing of developmental experiences, and addressing global challenges.

Jaishankar was speaking at the inaugural session of the 9th CII India-LAC Conclave organised in New Delhi by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

The External Affairs Minister said that the bilateral trade volume that reached nearly USD 50 billion in 2022-23 could be doubled to USD 100 billion by 2027. He noted that setting a target serves as a strong motivator to achieve great results.

On supply chain diversification, Jaishankar noted that cooperation in building resilient and reliable supply chains for energy security, food security, and consumer security will open up a gamut of avenues for India-LAC engagements.

As India, which is currently the 5th largest economy, aims to become the 3rd largest economy, the country will have rising demand for oil and gas, strategic minerals, food, etc, that could be met by LAC countries. At the same time, Indian products and services could meet the needs of LAC region, he added in reference to resource partnership.

In regard to sharing developmental experiences, Jaishankar said the countries of the Global South need to engage with each other more deeply in the realms of digital infrastructure and digitalisation, health solutions, and infrastructure development, among other fields. He placed emphasis on training and exchange programmes as a way to further the sharing of developmental experiences.

Jaishankar also called for India and LAC countries, and indeed the Global South as a whole, to step up cooperation for addressing global challenges related to climate change, concerns of the Global South, and reform of global financial and multilateral institutions.

Highlighting the importance of people-to-people interactions and freer movement of people between the two regions that befit the needs of a global workplace, Jaishankar urged the two regions to arrive at mobility agreements that could help create the necessary talent pool for industries of the future.

Speaking about innovative healthcare solutions, Jaishankar said that India’s ‘Jan Aushadhi’ welfare scheme for making available affordable generic medicines to a wide spectrum of society is worthy of emulation in the LAC region.

Development partnership is an important facet of India-LAC relations. India has extended 35 lines of credit to LAC countries of which 21 projects have been completed, he observed.

The 9th CII India-LAC Conclave reflects an upgraded engagement between the two regions. Twenty senior ministers from the 11 LAC countries are taking part in the Conclave.

President, CII, R Dinesh, called for deep India-LAC cooperation in diverse areas, such as resource sharing for the sustainable economy, transfer of technology and R&D to reinforce food security in the two regions, and interventions at the country level to promote integration with global value chains in sectors like horticulture. He also suggested mutual recognition agreements in pharmaceuticals sector, a bilateral infrastructure dialogue, digitalisation and innovation that deliver best cost solutions, and more cultural integration between the Indian and LAC societies.

Dinesh underlined the need to push for FTAs that help augment India-LAC bilateral trade and investment flows while bringing down the non-tariff barriers.

Director General CII, Chandrajit Banerjee, said the 9th CII India-LAC Conclave features deliberations in 12 different sectors in the spirit of ‘Furthering Economic Partnerships for Shared & Sustainable Growth’ which is the overarching theme of the Conclave.