Paraguay Paraguay-India - Page 16

paraguay Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu meets Hugo Velazquez, Vice President of Paraguay in Asuncion (March 06, 2019) PARAGUAY, INDIA PROMOTING BILATERAL RELATIONS BY DR. STUTI BANERJEE* O ver the past few years, India has been deepening its engagement with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean region. The government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tried to bring ‘focus on Latin America’ through more and more engagements, including high-level visits. In July 2014, Prime Minister Modi visited Brazil to attend the annual BRICS summit and met several Latin American heads of States on the sidelines of the summit. Taking the momentum forward, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, recently visited Paraguay and Costa Rica. Naidu became the first ever Vice President to visit Paraguay and in a way his visit highlights the need for India 16 • PARAGUAY 2019 to engage with other nations of the region. In close to sixty years of diplomatic relations, India and Paraguay have shared cordial relations, with few divergences. Trade is one of the main drivers of the bilateral relations which has increased almost ten-fold over the last ten years and reached $334 million in 2017-18 from $40 million in 2008-09. Soyabean oil accounts for over 90 percent of Paraguay’s exports to India. Main export items from India to Paraguay include iron and steel, plastics, chemicals, vehicles and auto parts. 1 As India tries to increase its global and economic footprint in the region, Paraguay provides it with a gateway to engage with other nations of the region. LAC is also known for regional integration. Paraguay is a member of