In addition to the ongoing negotiations for the second round of expansion of the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), India and Chile are soon going to ink a Bilateral Investment Protection Treaty. India and the South American nation Chile already has a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement which was signed earlier this year in March and the two sides are already in the process of finalizing a date for the next round of talks for the expansion of the PTA, which was delayed due to global pandemic.
India has welcomed Chile’s decision to designate India as a priority country in its foreign policy, and its decision to opening Consulate General in Mumbai. Post-COVID, in an effort to promote cooperation in trade, investment, services, and all industrial sectors between the two countries, the two countries are also in the midst of setting up an India-Chile Joint Business Council. Another big step for the two sides is working on an MoU for cooperation in the health sector and the export of generic medicines from India.
These are some of the highlights of the recently held first Joint Commission meeting between the two countries, external affairs minister S Jaishankar and Chile’s Allamand Zavala co-chaired the virtual meeting and reviewed the bilateral cooperation. This is the first institutionalized dialogue between the two countries at the level of Foreign Ministers and this consequent to the visit of President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit to Santiago last April. The two leaders agreed to `add momentum’ in their cooperation in various sectors including space cooperation, defense, energy, agriculture, mining and science and technology, and trade. Sources confirmed that the two countries are keen on expanding Agricultural cooperation, and this includes an agreement on Agriculture and also to address market access issues for products of mutual interest.
Renewable energy was also on the agenda of talks between the two countries, with a focus on Renewable Energy. The South American country which is a member of the International Solar Alliance, is in the process of ratifying the agreement. Multiple and long term visa, as well as liberalization of visa for Indian businessman, was also part of the talks. At the virtual meeting which concluded on October 16, 2020, the two talked about the expansion of the UN Security Council, COVID-19 pandemic as well as issues of mutual interest.
India – Chile Relations
The two countries have recently completed 70 years of diplomatic relations. In April 2019, during the visit of President Kovind, to Santiago, MoUs for cooperation in the field of Mining and Culture and a Letter of Intent for cooperation in the disability sector were signed. South American has the distinction of being the longest country in the world, has a very large maritime boundary, and controls a large part of Antarctica. It also has a huge base of natural resources which includes copper, tin, forest resources.
India already has a PTA with Chile which was expanded in 2017, which has helped in boosting bilateral trade. Today Chile is India’s fifth-largest trading partner in the LAC region. It is extensively engaged with the outside world and has free trade agreements with a large number of countries and regions. Prime minister Narendra Modi has had three interactions with the Chilean President Sebastian Pinera — on the sidelines of G20 meetings in Buenos Aires (2018), Osaka (2019), and G7 in Biarritz (2019).
The Chilean Navy has extended an invitation to the Indian navy to participate in the EXPONAVAL 2020 which is expected to take place end of this year at a naval base in that country. Also, the BrahMos Aerospace Company has been invited to participate in the expo.
An invite has been received for one of the Indian warships to attend an event at Valparaiso during their expo; a decision has not yet been taken. For the supply of defense and industrial platforms, since the laws of that country require companies from all over the world to register themselves with the Chilean Armed Forces and the Joint Staff, several Indian companies are getting themselves with the armed forces in that country. These include Hindustan Aeronautics Limited; Ordnance Factory Board; BEML; New Space India Limited; and Neo Power.