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India offers defense training to Chile during Prez visit
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India offers defense training to Chile during Prez visit

Agency News

New Delhi, Apr 2 : During President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit to Santiago, India offered training slots to Chilean armed forces in the premier defense institutions including for courses in mountain warfare and peacekeeping.

The two countries also agreed to explore opportunities for cooperation in defense including jointly manufacturing defense equipment under the `Make in India’ programme. During his visit, the President thanked Chile for its strong condemnation of the recent Pulwama terror.

The two nations agreed to work together to strengthen global response to defeat and destroy terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and hold those responsible, accountable for their brutality against humanity. On its part Chile announced visa-free entry to Indian nationals holding a valid US visa, said an official press note issued here.  The President welcomed Chile’s decision as a step that would promote both cultural and business ties.

Following delegation-level talks, President Kovind and Chilean President Sebastian Pinera witnessed the signing of three MoUs between the two countries in mining, culture and disability.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Kovind said that India and Chile trade relations were ``doing well’ and there was scope for further diversification of the trade basket.

Chile is the fifth largest trading partner of India in the Latin American region with copper being more than 85 per cent of the imports from that country. Later, addressing India-Chile Business Round-table in Santiago Mr Kovind said that for Indian business Chile was not just a market but an important long-term partner country. ``Chile is India’s window to Latin America and to the Pacific Alliance,’’ he said.

Expressing the confidence that the two countries shall work together to expand their trade basket, he said areas of cooperation could be marine research, scientific exploration and in the space sector.

The President informed the audience that in 2017-18, India drew about USD 62 billion in FDI and was recognised as among the world’s most attractive investment destinations.

``Given this, Chile’s modest investment in India was an anomaly. Since the beginning of the century, Chilean companies have invested just about USD 150 million in India. This needs to be rectified,’’ he said.

``Chile’s two sovereign wealth funds have a reputation for sound investment decisions. They could consider opportunities in Indian infrastructure sector. Together we can design investment products that serve Chile’s Economic and Social Stabilisation Fund as well as its Pension Reserve Fund – and feed into the Indian growth story. This would lead to a win-win situation,’’ he added.

At a luncheon banquet hosted by President Pinera, the President remarked that India-Chile bi-lateral agenda was expansive and that the warm and mutually beneficial friendship could grow and prosper in tandem with the progress of both our peoples.

``From energy to security, and from Yoga to Outer space, we have much work to do together,’’ he said. In his final engagement in Chile, the President addressed the students and faculty of the University of Chile on the topic ‘Gandhi for the Young’.

He said: ``Mahatma Gandhi belonged to all cultures and he drew from all religions. While deeply rooted in Hinduism, Gandhi was also influenced by Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam as also by thinkers such as Tolstoy, Ruskin and Thoreau. He thus came to represent the confluence of all that was best in the East and the West.’’

On Monday, the President halted at Cape Town on his way back to India. (UNI)