South America news

The dream is to have a Bollywood film shot in Bogota, Medellin or Cali, says Colombian ambassador Montes

Edited Excerpts of the Ambassador’s interview with Mint:

Colombia’s Ecopetrol and India’s Indian Oil Company have simply signed a long run settlement for the provision of oil. Since when has the engagement on power safety between India and Colombia expanded?

This cooperation has been occurring for years. ONGC Videsh has been in Colombia since 2014 and had a three way partnership with a Chinese language firm for the exploration and manufacturing of crude oil. ONGC has additionally succeeded in bids for its personal fields and is predicted to begin producing greater than 40,000 barrels per day by subsequent yr. This is top of the range oil and greater than 90% of it’s bought by EcoPetrol. This Embassy has labored very strongly with ONGC Videsh. With the conflict In Ukraine, each international locations have labored for power provide safety.

Additional, we now have additionally labored with India on coal. Final yr, we have been in a position to present some exports of coal in the course of the power disaster however this yr we have been unable to supply this as a result of Europe and China secured these provides. India’s power matrix could be very depending on coal and we now have superb high quality coal.

India is in the midst of an power transition. Are we going to see any collaborations between India and Colombia on this entrance?

I’m very a lot wanting ahead to that. This was a specific focus for the earlier Colombian authorities which labored on increasing and altering our power combine. We went from round 0.2% of other fuels in our power combine to nearly 9%. Colombia can be part of the Worldwide Renewable Power Alliance (IRENA). This Embassy has additionally requested the Ministry of Mines and Power in Colombia to look into becoming a member of the Worldwide Photo voltaic Alliance. The imaginative and prescient that Prime Minister Modi has articulated is identical as Colombia’s imaginative and prescient. Right now’s world could be very unsure and a disaster right here or a conflict there would possibly change the power atmosphere.

Latin America has come into quite a lot of focus due to vital minerals like lithium and copper. That is additionally crucial for India’s personal inexperienced transition. Have there been talks between India and Colombia about vital minerals?

We’ve not spoken about vital or uncommon minerals with India. Colombia was just about unexplored for these minerals as a result of we have been within the midst of a battle. We at the moment are within the sixth yr of a peace settlement and now have the chance to look into this. A lot of Colombia’s uncommon mineral deposits are additionally in environmentally fragile areas.

Latin America has more and more develop into one other entrance within the competitors between America and China. As this competitors escalates, how is the area and Colombia specifically trying to handle these tensions?

We’re very near the US. We’ve traditionally appeared north and now have a big diaspora in the US. America has additionally been our largest cooperation companion. However, China has additionally been coming to Colombia and different international locations within the area. For instance, China is constructing the metro in Bogota. It’s also concerned in telecom, connectivity and infrastructure within the nation.

Colombia sits within the coronary heart of the Americas. As President Petro of Colombia has stated, we should not get in the midst of these tremendous powers. I need to say that India’s place on this challenge could be very revered. We dwell in a world of many uncertainties. I feel Colombia is doing an excellent job of transferring forward and making an attempt to take one step at a time with out breaking any eggs.

Your views about what China’s BRI means for growing economies as some imagine that international locations like Sri Lanka appear to have landed themselves right into a debt lure?

You must be very, very cautious about the place you set your eggs. International locations like Sri Lanka are a studying expertise the place we should take the nice, the unhealthy and the ugly. I feel multilateral businesses are doing their greatest however I don’t know if it will be sufficient. Nonetheless, I feel what India is doing with Sri Lanka, entering into with funding and humanitarian help, is an instance to the world.

There’s a long-standing commerce relationship between India and Colombia. Nonetheless commerce volumes have remained within the mere thousands and thousands. May we get a way from you on what India’s strengths are for Latin America and which development sectors are being focused?

Prescription drugs are a precedence. What India has constructed with its pharmaceutical ecosystem is simply unimaginable. That is one thing that Colombia must be taught. India has a pharma business that’s excessive tech, revolutionary and manufactures reasonably priced and accessible medicines. No different nation has that. 4 Memorandums of Understanding are nearly able to be signed. One is in medical analysis with the Indian Council of Medical Analysis, one goals to strengthen the pharma relationship, one other is between our regulatory businesses and one on biotechnology. There’s additionally one three way partnership between Genova prescribed drugs and a Colombian pharma firm for the manufacturing of vaccines and different biosimilars for the Colombian market and the remainder of Latin America. Colombia solely has 50 million individuals so we now have to be a hub for the area. We’d like to take a leaf out of India’s pharma playbook.

Is India speaking to Colombia a few Preferential Commerce Settlement?

There have been talks however they’re going very slowly. There are specific delicate areas particularly in agriculture. Colombia has greater than 17 Free Commerce Agreements in place and the Ministry of Commerce is wanting into this matter. We superior a research in Colombia and so did the Indian aspect. However either side haven’t but exchanged these plans. Nonetheless, rather a lot can be occurring on the personal sector aspect. Colombia has TCS, Tech Mahindra, Hero Motocorp Royal Enfield, Bajaj. Hero Motocorp has a manufacturing facility close to Cali and can be trying to promote electrical bikes through the use of Colombia as a hub to different markets like Brazil. India’s IT corporations are performing properly within the monetary and insurance coverage sector. I’ve inspired them to look into different sectors like manufacturing and authorities. India’s corporations have an excellent fame within the nation and wish to work with native workers in contrast to different overseas international locations that like to herald their very own staff.

There’s a sense that India and Latin America have under-invested of their relationship and don’t determine in one another’s considering. What’s your sense of this challenge?

I feel India is making nice strides with Latin America. There’s a actual alternative for India to look into the Pacific Alliance and organizations just like the Caribbean Neighborhood (CARICOM), CELAC and different multilateral organisations within the area. Minister Jaishankar is main that effort. Since I got here to India at first of 2021, it’s unimaginable what number of visits have taken place from Minister Jaishankar, Minister Lekhi and authorities secretaries to the area. Nonetheless, past the governments, person-to-person hyperlinks shall be crucial. Typically, hyperlinks between individuals and the personal sector drag the general public sector alongside.

Each international locations have additionally began cooperation in area. May you inform us one thing about that?

We had Minister Lekhi go to Colombia and an MoU on aerospace was signed with ISRO. I then visited ISRO and we had our Minister of Science and Know-how put in a proposal for utilizing a satellite tv for pc that shall be utilized for peaceable functions like agriculture, meteorological measures and demographic measurement amongst others. The one satellite tv for pc that Colombia has launched into area was launched by ISRO. Additional, the Minister of Science and expertise has spoken to ISRO about collectively growing a satellite tv for pc. We’re at the moment growing it ourselves and are encountering some challenges as we don’t have the expertise. In fact, different international locations have are available in and supplied their experience and India is on an inventory of nations who’re going to collaborate. Nonetheless, a last determination will must be made by the brand new Minister for Science and Know-how and the Colombian Air Pressure.

India and Colombia each have a large leisure business. What are the chances for collaboration right here?

I really started to grasp what mushy energy is as soon as I arrived in India. Tradition is a vital a part of my diplomatic mission right here. We’ve began negotiating an MoU on co-production of audio-visual content material. The dream could be to have a Bollywood film shot in Bogota, Medellin or Cali in Colombia. That is an MoU between our Ministry of Tradition and your Ministry of Info and Broadcasting.

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