India is planning to open a logistics center for Indian companies in Panama: Jaishankar

India is studying the possibility of opening a logistics center for Indian companies in Panama, Secretary of State S. Jaishankar said, claiming that the country’s trade with Latin America is growing and nearing $50 billion.

The minister arrived in Panama from Guyana on Monday. He visited President Nito Cortizo and brought him the personal greetings of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“His strong response to PM Modi’s ‘Panch Prann’ reflects the strength of our Global South Bonds and our shared worldview. Appreciated his guidance to further develop our bilateral and multilateral partnership,” Jaishankar tweeted.

Cortizo said during their meeting they discussed the will to form an alliance with the Indian pharmaceutical industry to achieve high quality, effective and cheaper medicines for Panamanians.

“We are looking at the trade exchange between Panama and India and the advantages that our country offers for the establishment of further companies; also about the possibilities of cooperation and our interest in developing a center for technological excellence and innovation,” he tweeted.

Jaishankar also met his counterpart, Janaina Tewaney Mencomo, and discussed ways to strengthen bilateral ties. They later addressed the media.

“Many of the conversations were dedicated to deepening our friendship and expanding our cooperation. Among the specific issues we discussed was trade and investment, the opportunities to explore a logistics hub here for Indian companies,” Jaishankar said.

He said they discussed the challenges of more affordable health from more decentralized drug production in the world, including this region, and discussed energy and renewable energy opportunities.

He said the new India and the new Panama would work together in today’s era.

“It fills me with joy to welcome my counterpart @DrSJaishankar to the Bolívar Palace.

Accompanied by a high-level delegation from the national government, we share our country’s progress and potential as an energy and logistics hub and as a strategic business and investment point,” Mencomo tweeted.

Panama has positioned itself as an important logistics center in Latin America.

Mencomo said her meeting with Jaishankar was an opportunity to discuss the issues on the common agenda and strengthen bilateral ties based on shared values.

“It was my pleasure to welcome all participants to the LAC-India Business Forum, an initiative that promotes development and economic dynamism between our region and the world’s fifth largest economy. We promote Panama as a strategic point for trade and investment,” she tweeted.

Jaishankar also delivered the keynote speech at the India-Latin America business event here on Monday.

In his speech, he gave ten reasons why India’s business cooperation with Latin America has great merit and effort.

“At almost US$50 billion, trade between India and Latin America has a highly diversified basket.

A significant increase in investment and interest in the mining, energy, agriculture and infrastructure sectors will further propel it,” he said.

The minister said that India’s presence as the world’s fifth largest economy is growing steadily, with the transformation in manufacturing, infrastructure, innovation and start-up culture within the country leading the way.

Jaishankar said India’s description as the “pharmacy of the world” by providing vaccines to 100 countries and medicines to 150 countries is welcomed by all.

Long-awaited reforms in India have resulted in record exports from India, he said, although he welcomed Latin America as an attractive market.

A robust digital backbone in India enables the delivery of public goods and tools for business, he said.

Production pickup via Production Linked Incentives and support for supply chains and MSMEs. Indian products are a natural fit for Latin America’s middle class, Jaishankar said.

Indian project execution has increased in all regions and “Made in India” and “Delivered by India” are becoming a reality worldwide, he said.

Indian agriculture is making strides in yields, quality and technology. This has external implications, he said.

“Indian talents and skills today see the world as a place to work. Initiatives like Skill India, Startup India and New Education Policy are part of this mosaic,” he added.

Jaishankar also met with Indian-born members of the national civil defense system in Panama.

After his visit to Panama, Jaishankar will visit Colombia, where he will meet several of the country’s top politicians and review bilateral relations with his Colombian counterpart, Alvaro Leyva Duran.

On Monday, Jaishankar joined Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali in the launch of an Indian-made ferry that would improve connectivity and offer mobility and economic opportunities in the country’s remote hinterland.

Jaishankar is on a nine-day trip to Guyana, Panama, Colombia and the Dominican Republic, his first visit as foreign minister to these Latin American countries and the Caribbean.

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