In a clear shift in its policy towards Latin American (LatAm) nations, the government now proposes more frequent political and economic engagement with smaller countries of the region to widen its influence and expand investment opportunities.
A large delegation comprising senior government officials and business leaders will be heading to El Salvador later this month to participate in an investor summit that will bring together businesses from across the globe. The summit is slated to be held in San Salvador from March 28-30.
The government plans to use this event not only to seek new investment opportunity for Indian companies, but also for building ground for a more lasting and stronger political relationship with the central American country. A similar engagement is also proposed later with Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, Costa Rica, Belize and Bolivia.
Talking to FE, minister of state for external affairs VK Singh said, “We need to look at the LatAm region more deeply. Groupings such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and Central American Integration System (SICA) are very important. And we must utilise our goodwill so that our influence increases in the region.”
“Each country has got certain strengths and it is up to us to tap them. Indian businesses should go to these countries and invest. Let’s look at the future,” the minister said in reply to a question about the coming investor summit in El Salvador.
“The initiative is organised by the Export and Investment Promotion Agency, PROESA, with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank and the ministry of foreign affairs, among other important collaborators,” Jose Felix Ulloa Alvarenga, chargé d’affaires, embassy of El Salvador to India, told FE.
“The summit will launch a country brand presentation and hold a conference with various high-level panel discussions to underscore the competitive advantages to choose El Salvador as a sound investment destination,” the envoy said.
India’s engagement has so far largely concentrated on the big countries of the region including Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Argentina and Peru. Investment flow has also been concentrated in larger economies. But it is now felt that bringing smaller countries to the fold would also be important, as it would help India gain their support on issues of interest in various international fora.
Also, some of these countries have rich natural resources that could become an area of cooperation for mutual gain.
The investor summit will target presidents, directors and CEOs of national and international companies for fostering trade and diversification with the aim to promote exchange of products and services with added value.
Among the target audience in the Asia Pacific region, India becomes of particular relevance and interest as it has emerged as the fastest-growing large economy in the world. The central American nation is seeking investments from India in manufacturing and services, specifically in the areas of textiles and apparel, offshore business services, energy, tourism, aeronautics, and light manufacturing.
Indian companies such as Aditya Birla Group, UPL, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals and Hero MotoCorp already have a presence in the region.