By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
With a projected growth rate for 2018 of 7.4 percent – after a slowdown in 2017 to 6.75 percent, due, in part, to a drop in exports and a downtick in private investment – India is back on an economic roll.
Set to soon regain its status as the fastest-growing major economy, the world’s largest democracy and second-most populous nation is now vying for more foreign investment dollars.
And while India still lags behind in infrastructure and rural development, the country is a booming investment destination and is also expanding its capital holdings abroad, including in Mexico.
Earlier this week, Indian Ambassador to Mexico Muktesh K. Pardeshi hosted a belated Indian Republic Day reception at his residence, and the main focus of his welcome speech was his country’s burgeoning bilateral relations with Mexico.
Noting that the two nations first established diplomatic ties in 1950 – the very same year that India adopted its sovereign constitution and formally became an independent republic – Pardeshi said that binational ties are at an all-time high and positioned to grow even more over the next 12 months.
The envoy said that, on the political plane, two-way relations got a significant boost from last July’s meeting between Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in Germany during the G-20 summit, the fourth such meeting in the last three years.
“This further elevated the level and frequency of the bilateral political dialogue between our two nations,” Pardeshi said, adding that during this encounter, Modi extended a formal invitation to Peña Nieto to visit India.
The ambassador also made reference to the numerous bilateral agreements and memorandums of understanding between India and Mexico, which run the gamut from cultural, education exchange, extradition, double-taxation avoidance, bilateral investment promotion, legal and air services accords.
“Our bilateral relationship is enriched by our close, trusted and expansive commercial association,” he said.
“Mexico is currently India’s largest trade partner in Latin America.”
According to Indian Embassy statistics, combined bilateral trade topped $6.45 billion in 2016, up from just $1.8 billion on 2006, and accumulated Indian investment in Mexico is now more than $2 billion.
There are, at present, more than 150 Indian companies represented in Mexico, primarily in the fields of information technology, pharmaceuticals, automobiles and textiles, providing 30,000 jobs to Mexican workers.
“Mexico is also the largest Latin American investor in India,” Pardeshi said.
Mexican investors currently have more than $800 million in capital in Indian sectors such as entertainment, multiplex cinemas, auto parts, electric generators and processed food.
Pardeshi likewise pointed out that India will be the invited country of honor at the 2018 International Cervantino Cultural Festival in October.
India proclaimed its independence from the United Kingdom on August 15, 1947, after the British were unable to contain a pacifistic resistance led by Mahatma Gandhi.
Nonetheless, India continued as a dominion state under the British until it adopted a constitution in Nov. 26, 1949, which went into effect on Jan. 26, 1950.