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BRASILIA: Asserting that distance is not a barrier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said India will work more closely with the resource-rich Latin American nations than ever before as the setting up of the BRICS development bank opens up newer opportunities for cooperation.
“I assure you that India will work more closely with South America than ever before. At the bilateral level, as a BRICS member, in the G-77, as well as other international forums,” he told leaders from South America.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who was the host of this year’s BRICS summit, invited leaders from South America including those from Argentina, Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, Uruguay, Paraguay on the lines of President Jacob Zuma inviting those from Africa during the last year’s summit in Durban.

“Our discussions today should throw up new ideas for partnership between BRICS and South America. BRICS nations have already started a new chapter in this with the BRICS New Development Bank. This will open up newer opportunities of cooperation,” Modi said.

Noting that there is a growing presence of Indian investors in South America, he said it is still well below potential.

Modi said South America has tremendous potential.

“It is blessed with vast resources and talent. It can become an important pillar of the global economy. In the face of economic uncertainty its growth can be crucial for global prosperity,” he said.

In a globalize and inter-connected world, he said, “our destinies are inter-linked”.

“We are all bound by shared aspirations and common challenges. We all have a stake in each other’s success.

Distance is not a barrier to opportunities. It also does not insulate us from challenges in other parts of the world,” Modi said.

The Prime Minister said nations must unite to seek faster growth and newer avenues of generating prosperity, to find solutions to the challenge of poverty and to preserve our environment, and use our resources well. . “We all have a stake in each other’s success. Distance is not a barrier to opportunities. It also does not, insulate us from challenges in other parts of the world,” the Prime Minister said.

Modi, while addressing the leaders, referred to the links between India and South America like the popularity of authors like Octavio Paz and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and the links between Gujarat and the region.

To tap enormous opportunities of cooperation, he said, “We must utilize, the Preferential Trade Agreement between India and the MERCOSUR Trade Block (South America’s trade block) and Chile, more effectively.”

“I firmly believe, the possibilities of cooperation are limited not by distance but only by our imagination and efforts. We have much to learn from each other, in our journey towards inclusive and sustainable development.

“We must share with each other, our experiences, best practices and innovative solutions. India stands committed to the same. I am pleased, that India has deputed experts, to countries in the South American region in the fields of Agriculture, Horticulture, Disaster Management, Communications and Law. We are also working together in Renewable Energy,” Modi said.

To share its expertise in Information Technology, India will establish Centers of Excellence in Information Technology in South American countries, the Prime Minister said.

India also offered to expand cooperation in areas like Tele-medicine, Tele-education and e-Governance.

“We extend our Space capabilities, for weather forecasting, resource mapping and disaster management. I also look forward, to a much more intensive level of engagement, between India and South America, in the coming years, across all domains of cooperation,” Modi said.–PTI

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