By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
The strong and ever-growing bilateral relationship between India and Mexico was the focus of Indian Ambassador to Mexico Manpreet Vohra’s Republic Day speech during the diplomatic reception he and his wife Naseem Vohra offered at their residence on Monday, Jan. 27.
“India and Mexico enjoy a close and friendly relationship, as well as a privileged association since 2007,” Vohra told his guests, before offering them a lavish buffet luncheon.
“We have agreed to work together to elevate that relationship to a strategic association.”
Vohra, a career diplomat who formerly served as his government’s ambassador to Afghanistan, Peru and Bolivia, went on to say that India is eternally grateful to Mexico for having been the first Latin American nation to recognize India’s 1947 independence from Great Britain.
“This year, we are also celebrating the 70th anniversary of our bilateral diplomatic relations,” he said.
“Our binational commercial ties are also forging new links and economic bonds.”
The envoy said that combined two-way between India and Mexico now amounts to more than $10 billion a year, making India Mexico’s ninth-largest trade partner worldwide.
He also said that Mexico is India’s second-largest trade partner in the Americas, right after the United States.
Among India’s principal exports to Mexico are vehicle and automotive parts (representing about $1.7 billion a year), information technology, electronics, pharmaceuticals and textiles.
In return, Mexico sells India petroleum (which makes up about 75 percent of Mexico’s export portfolio to India), machinery, fertilizers and chemicals.
In terms of investment, there are now nearly 160 Indian companies with capital holdings in Mexico, worth about $3 billion and providing jobs for more than 30,000 workers.
In total, more than 160 Indian companies currently have operations in Mexico, particularly in the high-tech and pharmaceutical sectors.
In turn, there are 12 major Mexican investors in India, with accumulated holdings of about $800 million, including Cinépolis, Gruma, Grupo Bimbo, KidZania and Nemak.
“Both sides agree that there is much more potential, and we are working together to give our commercial ties a major push, including through high-level political exchanges,” Vohra said.
“In this regard, the visit to India by Mexican Undersecretary of Foreign Relations (SRE) Julián Ventura last October has helped to open new pathways and to identify new and exciting areas of future cooperation.”
Vohra said that, as developing countries and members of the G-20, India and Mexico have much to contribute to one another on the path to future progress and development.
The ambassador also pointed out that India is now a regional powerhouse, representing the fifth-largest economy worldwide, with a gross domestic product of $3.2 trillion, and, in terms of buying power, the third-largest economy.
“We are also the second-fastest-growing economy in the world,” he added, “and in a few years, we will be the fastest-growing economy.”
Having carved a niche for itself in the global information technology, pharmaceutical, biotech, automotive, renewable energy, scientific research and aerospace industries, Vohra said that India now exports more than $330 billion in goods and $200 billion in services each year.
He likewise said that India is the world’s largest importer.
“The government of India is happy to help (Mexico) in any way possible, and our embassy in Mexico City is always ready to offer its services in resolving the needs of both Indian and Mexican businesses, as well as to all our citizens,” he said.
After proclaiming its independence on Aug. 15, 1947, India set about the task of drafting a constitution that would become the foundation of its legal and political system as a modern, democratic republic.
That constitution was formally adopted on Nov. 26, 1949, going into effect on Jan. 26, 1950.