India mulls opening more embassies LatAm. Opening an embassy in Bolivia will be one of the issues that will be on the table for discussion when President Ram Nath Kovind meets his counterpart President Evo Morales in Santa Cruz.
Ahead of the visit, Secretary (East) Ministry of External Affairs, Ms Vijay Thakur Singh had told Financial Express Online that, As far as opening an embassy in Bolivia is concerned, it is very much something which is on the agenda and we will take it up.
With the visit of President Kovind, this is the first ever high level visit from India to the landlocked nation which is rich in mineral resources and has large deposits of lithium, gold, silver and gas reserves.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has met with Bolivia President Morales on the margins of the BRICS summit in Brazil in 2014 and in 2018, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had met with her Bolivian counterpart on the margins of UNGA.
There are natural synergies between the two countries: Bolivia has lithium and India needs the lithium for eMobility and eStorage. Also India could be a partner that could provide know-how technology and skills.
With growing relations between the two countries there is a need to set up an embassy which can take care of the various aspects of all spheres of the bilateral relations between the two countries. The bilateral trade between the two has grown very significantly; in 2017-18 the trade grew by 205% to reach $ 772 Million.
During the recently concluded visit of Vice President Venkaiah Naidu to South American nation Paraguay, officials confirmed to Financial Express Online that the Indian government is considering opening an embassy in Paraguay. Few formalities are underway and it is expected that the embassy will be opened very soon in Asuncion, Paraguay.
New Delhi has been focusing more on the LatAm region and several high level visits have taken place in the last couple of years. However, diplomats from most of the countries from the region have expressed their concerns about the lack of embassies in some countries in the region including.
So far, India has only 14 embassies out of the 33 countries in the LatAm region. After Prime Minister Modi had announced during his visit to Africa, that 18 more embassies will be opened in the continent by 2021, some envoys from countries including Ecuador, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Costa Rica and El Salvador, had met with foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale to discuss opening of embassies in their countries.
All these countries have their missions in India.