Argentina on Monday invited Indian business to invest in the Latin American nation in a move to boost the current low level of bilateral trade with India and take the relationship to a higher level. Following Macri's talks with Modi on Monday, the two sides signed 10 MoUs for greater cooperation in a range of areas including in information and communications technology, nuclear energy and agriculture.
Addressing the India-Argentina Business Forum here organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) President Mauricio Macri said Indian enterprise is "most welcome" in Argentina in a situation of "endless potential" for economic cooperation between both nations. Macri, who arrived on his first official visit to India on Sunday, held delegation-level talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier on Monday.
"I invite you to participate in this process of integration between our two countries...to invest, partner and participate in the unprecedented pace of development that is taking place in Argentina," Macri said, addressing the business forum. Declaring that Argentina wants to learn from India's experience in "innovation and sustainable development," the President said his delegation includes representatives from Argentina's MSME sector, as well as business representing all the 11 provinces in the country.
"There are many complementarities between both countries, for instance, that between India's EV (electric vehicles) programme target for 2030 and Argentina's lithium programme," he said. Lithium is important for solar power projects and a key element of lithium-ion batteries for EVs, while, following Modi's meeting with Macri in Argentina last year, an Indian consortium has been to the South American country to explore mining of lithium and copper.
Macri pointed to potential areas of cooperation as being agro-industry, non-conventional energy sources, renewables and the knowledge economy, among others. Argentina, which supports India's bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), will hold its first nuclear talks with India in Mumbai later this week through the mechanism of a joint nuclear group.
While the current bilateral trade stands at a modest $3 billion, Macri's visit, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations, is part of efforts to upgrade the relationship to the "strategic level". Addressing the gathering earlier, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said that India is looking to expand the current preferential trade agreement (PTA) with Argentina to a "higher level." He also praised Argentina's efforts in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in the context of a "new wave of protectionism."
(With inputs from agencies.)