India to hold first dialogue Latin American troika
New Delhi, Aug 2 (IANS) India will host its maiden dialogue with a troika of Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) countries Tuesday, an important step that will elevate ties with the resource-rich region amid China's growing foray.
External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna will lead the Indian delegation at the first India-CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Troika foreign ministerial meeting. Chilean Foreign Minister Alfredo Moreno Charme will lead the CELAC Troika, which includes Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro and Cuban Vice Foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra.
"The meeting will provide a unique platform for both sides to discuss a vision for building India-CELAC relations. Both sides will also discuss various regional developments and multilateral issues of mutual interest," the external affairs ministry said Thursday.
The CELAC is a newly-formed regional group comprising 33 states of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region and is home to 600 million inhabitants, nearly half the population of India. The region, however, has a landmass five times that of India.
Chile holds the CELAC's pro-tempore presidency till January 2013.
The dialogue is part of a slew of diplomatic initiaves by India to to accelerate engagement with this fast-growing region in the world. The meeting will discuss ways to institute a India-Latin America and Caribbean Dialogue Mechanism, which will be similar to that of the India-Africa Forum Summit that started in 2008.
The discovery of hydrocarbons has raised the profile of the the region and made it a hub of foreign investments. China has made deep inroads into the region, both economically and diplomatically. It is against this backdrop India is seeking to scale up its economic engagement with the area.
India's bilateral trade has gone up from a mere $2 billion in 2000 to $25 billion. However, India's trade with the region is only one-tenth that of China's. India's investments in the region are estimated to be around $15 billion.
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