India is an emerging power on a global scale and a regional power in Asia in terms of both size and population, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said in Paraguay on Monday as he held “productive” talks with his Paraguayan counterpart Julio Cesar Arriola and discussed new areas of bilateral cooperation.
Mr Jaishankar, who is on his first-ever official visit to South America aimed at boosting overall bilateral ties with the region, also said that India is one of the world’s most dynamic economies, which has experienced tremendous growth in recent years.
Mr Jaishankar is also the first Indian Foreign Minister to visit Paraguay coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the beginning of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
“Today, we had very productive talks. We discussed our bilateral relations. We discussed the prospects of growth, trade, development partnership and investments,” Mr Jaishankar said during a joint press statement alongside Arriola.
The minister said that beyond economy, there are other areas where the two sides can work together such as culture, civil society, health, education and traditional medicine.
“We had a very good exchange of views on the state of the world. Our shared commitment to international rules-based order, a world which respects international law, which respects agreements, which supports multilateralism,” Mr Jaishankar said, in a veiled reference to China.
In Sao Paulo, S Jaishankar on Saturday said that China has disregarded the border pacts with India, casting a shadow on the bilateral ties as he asserted that a lasting relationship cannot be a one-way street and there has to be mutual respect.
He noted that this year is of utmost relevance for India, given that on August 15, it celebrated 75 years of independent existence.
“To understand the significance of these developments, I would like to point out that India is an emerging power on a global scale and a regional power in Asia in terms of both size and population. It is one of the world’s most dynamic economies, which has experienced tremendous growth in recent years,” Mr Jaishankar said.
“We have agreed with the Foreign Minister that this visit reflects the political will of our governments to strengthen the ties that unite our countries and the desire to explore new areas where we can expand cooperation and commercial exchanges, with the aim of taking advantage of all the potential that our economies have to offer,” he said.
He said Paraguay has been a steadfast partner of India at multilateral forums. “Our shared commitment to a rules-based order and to democratic values will continue motivating us to work closely,” he said.
Mr Jaishankar also inaugurated a resident Indian Embassy in Paraguay and said its establishment will take bilateral ties to a higher level.
“I have every confidence that with an embassy in this country, the opportunities for our cooperation will grow,” he said, assuring Arriola that he will find India as a very good partner.
“We wish to continue working on a robust bilateral agenda, which will allow us to deepen and broaden the ties between our countries, and thus bringing our societies closer together,” Mr Jaishankar said.
He said he has expressed to the Foreign Minister that Paraguay has a strong interest in becoming a strategic partner of India in the region.
On his part, Arriola said that Paraguay has a firm interest in becoming a strategic partner of India in the region.
“We aim to continue working to increase investment and support in areas of common interest, such as culture, education, energy, technology transfer and training of human talent, among others,” he said.
Later, Mr Jaishankar called on President Marito Abdo and conveyed the personal greetings of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Thank President of Paraguay @MaritoAbdo for receiving me. Conveyed the personal greetings of PM @narendramodi. Appreciate his guidance on further advancing our bilateral relationship and global partnership,” he tweeted.
Earlier, Mr Jaishankar also unveiled a bust of Mahatma Gandhi and visited the historic Casa de la Independencia from where the South American country’s Independence movement started more than two centuries ago.
“Honoured to unveil a bust of Mahatma Gandhi ji in Asuncion, Paraguay. Appreciate the Asuncion Municipality’s decision to locate it at the prominent waterfront of the city. This is a statement of solidarity that was so strongly expressed during the Covid pandemic,” he tweeted.
“Paid my homage at the National Pantheon of Heroes in Asuncion this morning. Recognized the sacrifices of those who have served this country,” he said in another tweet.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)