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14 January 2014, Gateway House

India-Latin America Engagements, January 2014

In 'India-Latin America Engagements', the Latin America Desk at Gateway House presents a selection of news of India’s engagement with the region during the previous month

Former Distinguished Fellow, India-Latin America

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Venezuelan foreign minister visits India

Elias Jaua Milano, Venezuela’s foreign minister, accompanied by 10 vice ministers, visited Delhi on 20-21 December to co-chair the joint commission meeting with India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.

Venezuela has become India’s largest trading partner in Latin America, overtaking Brazil, with bilateral trade at $14.4 billion in 2012-2013. India’s crude oil imports accounted for almost that entire amount, at $14.1 billion. Consequently, India is the third largest market for Venezuelan crude after the U.S. and China. With the decreasing dependence of the U.S. on crude imports, Venezuela now attaches more importance to India and China. India’s ONGC Videsh has invested over a billion dollars in Venezuelan oil fields, and the country has invited Indian investment in pharmaceuticals, joint ventures in light industries, and collaboration in film production.

Saab fighter aircraft wins bid in Brazil

In December, Sweden’s Saab Gripen fighter aircrafts won a $4.5 billion bid with Brazil, over Dassault of France, and Boeing of the U.S. Boeing, according to some observers, lost out because of Brazil’s unhappiness with allegations of the U.S.’s spying on the Brazilian government and private sector. The Brazilian government justified its choice on the basis of Saab’s lower cost, high performance and willingness to transfer key technologies.

Indian companies increase investments in Latin America

The Indian IT major Cognizant opened a new delivery centre in San Jose, Costa Rica, which was inaugurated by President Laura Chinchilla-Miranda on 19 December. This is the company’s fifth centre in Latin America; the biggest is in Buenos Aires with over 200 staff. The other centres are in Sao Paulo (Brazil), Mexico City and Jalisco (Mexico).

Tata Motors has entered into an agreement with the state of Rio de Janeiro to invest 750 million Brazilian Reias and set up a production plant for Jaguar-Land Rover in the city of Itatiaia, Brazil. The plant, which is expected to start production by 2016, will have a production capacity of 24,000 vehicles per year.

Ambassador Viswanathan is Distinguished Fellow, Latin America Studies, Gateway House. He is the former Indian Ambassador to Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela, and Consul General in Sao Paulo.

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