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Changing India, Changing Panama can leverage their advantages together: EAM

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New Delhi/Panama City: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said his visit to Panama and his talks with his Panamanian counterpart Janaina Tewaney Mencomo are aimed to see how a changing India and a changing Panama can forge a more contemporary relationship and leverage their advantages, in terms of logistics and become a hub.

EAM Jaishankar, who later also addressed the India-LAC Business Forum and also met counterparts from SICA countries — Countries of the Central American Integration System at a dinner engagement, held bilateral talks with his Indian-origin Panamanian counterpart Janaina Tewaney Mencomo.

Later in the day he also met Indian origin members of the National Civil Protection System, and told them that India is proud of their contribution.

EAM said he held warm and forward-looking discussions with Foreign Minister Mencomo of Panama on Monday afternoon.

“Our shared political values & economic outlook encourages cooperation across multiple domain

“Discussed stronger business to business ties, connectivity, health & pharma, energy & green hydrogen, semiconductors and mobility in this regard.

“Noted our close collaboration in multilateral fora. Our discussions in this regard will continue,” he said in tweets.

“New India and New Panama will work together in the contemporary era,” he said in his remarks at the dinner hosted by the Panamanian FM where he met his counterparts from SICA countries.

EAM in his address, said that for the past 60 years India and Panama have shared very good relations, based on the fundamental things both share, of democracy, political values, practising market economy, and a pluralistic society. The relations are marked with warm traditions and good history.

“Sixty years of bilateral relations is perhaps a time to reflect, to work to see how to refresh it, to find new opportunities, new avenues,” he said.

He said when FM Mencomo came to India in January, she attended the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas diaspora gathering, “which we treat as not a conclave of our people, but bonds we have built with different societies”, and added that there are 15,000 people of Indian origin in Panama.

“To have FM Mencomo there was highlighting a bond with Panama that has helped to serve the relationship very well.”

On India’s G20 presidency, he said the responsibility has come on India at “a particularly complex time in international relations, where we have seen life as we knew it disrupted by Covid, disrupted by the conflict in Ukraine and its consequences, disrupted by climate events, by other events, terrorism, trade disruptions, debt..”

“There is no question it is a very uncertain, very volatile world, but it’s important we realise it is not a helpless world… and that to all these challenges there are answers, within us, — of cooperation among like-minded countries,” he added.

He said that PM Modi had decided that “we would do it differently, by consulting and talking to those countries who will not be on that table”, and added that at the beginning of the year India held an exercise, Voice of the Global South, where India consulted 125 countries. “So when we sat at the G20 table, we were speaking not just for India, but for more than 100 countries in the world.”

EAM said the question is not about conflicts and tension, “but about growth, development, prosperity and inclusion”, which is there in India, and “what we would like to see in international relations abroad”.

“I’m here to see how a changing India and a changing Panama can forge a more contemporary relationship,” he said.

EAM said that India’s trade with countries in Latin America is close to USD 50 billion, “and we believe this is only the beginning”, whether in infrastructure, mining.

“We are rapidly emerging as top trade partners… How the India-Panamanian relations can leverage this in terms of logistics, of becoming a hub; and these are real possibilities, and it is therefore important to meet oftener, and strengthen our confidence of working with each other,” he said, adding that he believes the bilateral ties will reach higher levels.

In his keynote address at the India-Latin America Business event, he highlighted 10 important reasons why the bilateral business collaboration has strong prospects and merits focused endeavors.

In tweets, he said ”As the 5th largest economy, our presence across the world is steadily growing. Transformation in manufacturing, infrastructure, innovation and startup culture within India are game changer.

“Nearing US$ 50 billion, India-Latin America trade has a much diversified basket. Significant increase in investments and interest in mining, energy, agro and infrastructure sectors will power it further.

“Long awaited reforms in India has led to record Indian exports. Latin America is an attractive market.

“Providing vaccines to 100 countries and medicines to 150; India’s proposition as Pharmacy of the World is welcomed by all.

“A robust digital backbone in India allows delivery of public goods and tools for business.

“Manufacturing pickup via Production Linked Incentives and support to vendor chains and MSMEs. Indian products are a natural fit for Latin American middle class.

Indian project execution has grown across geographies. Made in India & Delivered by India are globally becoming realities.

Indian agriculture is making strides in yields, quality, technology. This has external implications.

Brand is getting stronger as we are trusted in the digital domain.

Indian talent & Skills consider the world as a workplace today. Initiatives like Skill India, Startup India and New Education Policy are a part of this mosaic.

“Together, they make a powerful case for deeper economic engagement,” he tweeted.

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