MoS Lekhi’s Visit Provided Fresh Momentum To Ties With Panama, Honduras & Chile: MEA

| Updated: 09 May, 2022 12:36 am IST
Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture Meenakshi Lekhi with Chilean Foreign Minister Antonia Urrejola

NEW DELHI: Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture Meenakshi Lekhi’s recent visit to Panama, Honduras and Chile provided fresh momentum to India’s ties with them, MEA said on Sunday.

“The visit to Panama, Honduras and Chile provided fresh momentum to India’s relations with these countries in central and south America,” MEA stated on an eight-day three-nation state visit to the Central and South American region, commenced between April 28 to May 5.

In the first leg of her state visit to Panama from 28 April to 1 May, India and Panama inked an agreement on Gainful Employment for dependents of officials of diplomatic mission/post and an Agreement on Cultural Exchange Programme for 2021-24, Ministry of External Affairs said Sunday.

Lekhi, in a meeting with Erika Mouynes, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Panama and Janaina Tewaney, Minister of Government of Panama explored ways to extend cooperation in the sphere of trade and investment, health and pharma, Ayush, IT, space and culture.

Both the sides also agreed to take the India-SICA framework in the multilateral fora. Lekhi also visited the Panama Canal, Colon Free Trade Zone, the largest Free Trade Zone in the Americas and met Indian entrepreneurs there. She also led the curtain raiser for International Day of Yoga 2022 at the iconic Cinta Costera.

While in Honduras, between May 1-3, Lekhi called on the President of Honduras, Iris Xiomara Castro Sarmiento and the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Honduras, Antonio Garcia. Both sides discussed various bilateral, regional and international issues.

Lekhi also laid the foundation stone for the USD 26.5 million Jamastran Valley Irrigation project, funded by India through a Line of Credit. The project is estimated to irrigate 3,060 hectares of land and benefit about 1200 farmers, MEA stated.

She also interacted with the Rectors and Vice Rectors from 21 Universities in Honduras to explore cooperation possibilities under India’s New Education Policy 2020.

Lekhi visited the Centre of Excellence in Education and Information Technology, set up by India in 2008 where more than 26,000 students have been trained so far. The centre was upgraded in 2016 with Indian assistance.

Lekhi also met members of the Indian community in San Pedro de Sula.

While in Chile, Lekhi met Chilean Foreign Minister Antonia Urrejola Noguera. They held discussions on bilateral relations at length and underscored the need for cooperation in pharma, space, renewable energy and empowerment of persons with disabilities. They also agreed to work closely in the Pacific Alliance and the multilateral fora, given their common values and principles.

Lekhi also visited the Chilean Parliament. She also interacted with the Indian community in Chile.

During her meeting with Chilean Minister for Culture, Arts and Heritage, Julieta Brodsky Hernandez, India and Chile decided to extend cooperation in organising cultural events including the screening of films in each other’s countries. Lekhi also met with the Speaker of the Chilean Chamber of Deputies, Raul Soto and the President of the India-Chile parliamentary friendship group, Ciccardini.

In a discussion with the Chilean Federation of Industries, Lekhi discussed trade and investments and opportunities for Chilean companies for venturing into India.

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