There are many ways to approach the history between Latin America and the Caribbean and India, but perhaps one of the most symbolic is through certain products deeply rooted in Latin American culture, as emblematic as bananas or mangoes: fruits originating in India that arrived in America several centuries ago, following intricate commercial circuits. Today, three of the top five banana and mango exporters in the world are Latin American countries.

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The history of these products serves as an example in a story of exchange that began many years ago, but which currently has a scenario of obvious potential and benefit for millions of people. For example, despite the physical distances, India exports more to Brazil and Guatemala than to its neighbors in Cambodia, Japan or Thailand. For its part, LAC exports more to India than to traditional partners such as Spain, Germany, France or Italy.

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Sergio Díaz-Granados, CAF President

The relationship between India and Latin America and the Caribbean offers a window of opportunity in a post-pandemic world, armed conflicts and climate crisis. The two blocks have complementary economies and bring together a series of strategic resources that could leverage the commercial and investment link for mutual benefit.

First, there is food safety. The experience of Latin America and the Caribbean and India offers very relevant possibilities for synergies in this area. The productivity of the food sector in many countries constitutes a source of learning for India, which, as the most populous country on the planet, faces the challenge of expanding production frontiers, ensuring environmentally friendly practices and promoting learning in its sector. rural.

In the case of the energy transition and the climate agenda, there are great opportunities to add technological value from the perspective of the production of strategic materials in Latin America and the Caribbean, such as lithium, as well as from the common impulse in terms of renewable energies that both India and the region have been advancing within the framework of a global discussion of common but differentiated responsibilities.

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On the other hand, health as a global public good also finds enormous potential in this relationship, as was verified during the pandemic with the provision of vaccines and as it is deployed in the new technological frontier of biosimilars.

These developments have to do with 4.0 industrialization processes, the knowledge economy and the latest generation technologies that have a vibrant impact on the relationship. A ‘cross fertilization’ is evident in this matter in the Argentine nuclear and satellite sector; precision agriculture and biotechnology in Brazil; electro mobility and new auto parts in Mexico; and the fruits and healthy agriculture of Chile, which are gaining markets in the Indian middle class. For its part, the Isthmus of Panama connects Latin America with the world.

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From CAF, development bank of Latin America, We aspire to be a permanent integration platform between the region and India, which contributes to forging dialogues in the public-private sphere and identify opportunities to deepen the exchange, mobilize resources from multiple sources of financing and improve the ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ infrastructure that enables business. We are also ready to monitor the incidence that, at a geopolitical level, countries can have in the highest global discussion agendas.

A starting point for strengthening this relationship is the CAF study called «LAC-India new horizons, new hopes»which is part of the launch of an ambitious work plan that will enrich and benefit the Global South and will allow the construction of a multidimensional integration platform. According to the study, the strategic link can scale in quantity and quality. In fact, total trade between the two regions grew 145 percent in 10 years and 2,000 percent in 20 years.

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Within the framework of the visit to Panama of the Foreign Minister of India, Minister Jaishankar, On April 24, we organized a meeting between businessmen and leaders from both regions where, in addition to presenting the study that specifies the bases for a new cycle of Indo-Latin American relationsA space for meeting and dialogue was provided by the expert hand of important former Latin American and Indian ambassadors, as well as the private sector, who shared the progress of relations, the potential for integration and the experience of the region and India in the reconfiguration global value chains.

Perseverance, organization and a culture of meeting are the keys to forging a deep and multidimensional integration. As a development institution in the region, we are convinced that only through new alliances will we achieve that Latin America and the Caribbean Have a new global voice that allows you to overcome socioeconomic gaps and offer more and better opportunities to all your citizens.

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