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India, Paraguay agree to promote bilateral investment, explore new areas of collaboration

twitter-logoPTI | March 7, 2019 | Updated 12:12 IST

Asuncion, Mar 7 (PTI) India and Paraguay have agreed to identify sectors of mutual interest to promote bilateral investment and decided to explore new areas of collaboration, including Information and Communication Technology and space and biotechnology. The decisions were taken as Vice President Venkaiah Naidu visited the country. He is the highest-level representative of India to visit Paraguay since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1961. During the visit, Naidu met Paraguay's President Mario Abdo Benítez, Vice President Hugo Velazquez and President of the National Congress (Senate) Silvio Ovelar. Talks were held in a warm and cordial atmosphere when the two sides discussed bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest, an official statement said. The representatives highlighted the progressive increase of bilateral trade, whose average, in the last five years, amounts to approximately USD 376 million, and agreed to articulate mechanisms that allow a better use of its potential, it said. Both sides agreed to identify sectors of mutual interest to promote bilateral investment considering the highly favourable business environment existing in their countries. They also expressed their intention to encourage the private sector to promote alliances that allow them to take advantage of the stability of their economies. The two sides agreed to explore new areas of collaboration including in hydel and solar, health including traditional medicine, Information and Communication Technology, farming and agriculture machinery, space and biotechnology, railways and tourism related infrastructure. They tasked also their teams to facilitate promotion of exchanges between academics and universities and also between travel professionals and stakeholders in tourism. Paraguay welcomed the offer of India of capacity building through enhanced scholarships for higher education and its ITEC (Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation) programme, the statement said. The two sides welcomed signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Diplomatic and Consular Academy Paraguay and the Foreign Service Institute India, it said. They also expressed their interest in finalising the negotiations of the pending instruments. Both sides agreed to jointly celebrate 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandh. India welcomed the issuance of a commemorative postal stamp. Both side concurred in the importance of strengthening Parliamentary linkages. The two sides exchanged views on the Preferential Trade Agreement between MERCOSUR and India, in force as of 1 June 2009. MERCOSUR is an economic and political bloc comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. Paraguay strongly condemned the brutal terrorist attack in the Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on February 14. The attack by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed left 40 CRPF personnel dead. Both sides agreed that terrorism and transnational organized crime constitute a serious threat to world peace and stability. Paraguay said that India could count on its support in the fight against terrorism and in raising concerns about threats of terrorism in the international fora. They also stressed the importance of taking firm measures against terrorism and pledged to strengthen multilateral cooperation to combat this scourge including through cooperation against terrorist threats from groups listed in relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions and working towards early adoption of a UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. In order to discuss many of the collaborative proposals and strengthen ties between both countries, the vice presidents of the two nations agreed that a third meeting of consultations between the Foreign Ministries of both countries be held at an early date. The Consultations could explore among other things further institutional linkages to facilitate wide ranging cooperation between the two countries. The president if Paraguay accepted the invitation extended by Naidu to visit India at a convenient opportunity for both parties. Paraguay assured that it would support India’s candidature to elections to various UN and multilateral bodies. Paraguay appreciated the International Solar Alliance (ISA) initiative launched by India and France in 2015, adding that it would be joining it shortly. They agreed that ISA, launched by India and France in 2015, would facilitate use of clean energy, tap into abundant source of solar energy and transition from conventional to renewable sources. PTI NSA

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