Bogota: During the COVID pandemic, India truly established that it was the pharmacy of the world and it did so by supplying almost 100 countries with vaccines and at least 150 countries, including some from the developed world, with an increased supply of relevant medicines, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Thursday in Colombia.
Recalling the struggles during the COVID pandemic period, he said that it has made everyone more health conscious.
“The fact is that COVID has made us all much more health conscious, but also aware of supply chain vulnerabilities. Cost is also a relevant factor if we are looking at more sources, regionalized production and competitive pricing. I would suggest to our Colombian friends that the Indian industry is your natural partner,” Jaishankar said while addressing the India-Colombia Business Forum.
India also has a traditional medicine and wellness practice that could have strong business implications. Certainly. Therefore, these are areas worth exploring, he said further.
Speaking on Trade between India and Colombia, Jaishankar said the nations naturally seek to expand their volumes, the decision before us is when, where and how much to invest, and that the pharmaceutical sector is particularly seized of this challenge.
“Our endeavour is naturally to assess the comparative ease of doing business, among the countries of this region. We focus on market access issues, regulatory complexities and non-tariff barriers. The predictability of the business environment is also an important factor. To be honest, even the ease of getting business visas is a consideration. And not least, we assess how much the partner governments in question are invested in growing their relationship with India,” the EAM said during his address.
He added by saying that from the Colombian perspective, it is necessary that one is conversant with domains where India has made particular advances in recent years.
“I would like our Colombian friends to also note that India’s trade with Brazil currently, is around USD 17 billion and with Mexico around USD 8.5 billion. If nothing else, I hope it is a motivating factor. As Indian business approaches the region with a stronger desire to trade, invest, collaborate and execute projects, business events such as this one and visits like mine along with a business delegation, are helpful in taking decisions,” he said.
The External Affairs Minister, at present, is on a 4-nation trip to Latin American countries. Before his visit to Colombia, he went to Guyana and Panama.
The EAM’s visit to these four countries; his bilateral engagements and interactions with counterparts of important regional groups: CARICOM and SICA, adds to the momentum of the India-Latin American countries’ engagements.
Jaishankar’s Colombia visit marks the first Foreign Ministerial level visit from India to the Latin American country.
Earlier today, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met his Colombian counterpart, Alvaro Leyva Duran, on Thursday. Both leaders discussed several bilateral issues and signed the Cultural Exchange Program for 2023-26.
The two leaders also discussed the issue of Reformed Multilateralism and exchanged views on expanding bilateral cooperation in health, agriculture and digital domains. Global issues, including the Indo-Pacific, also figured in the discussions.
“Met Foreign Minister @AlvaroLeyva of Colombia this morning. Exchanged views on expanding our bilateral cooperation, especially in health, agriculture and digital domains. Proposed greater exchanges and stronger collaboration, especially in capacity building. Also spoke about global issues, including the Indo-Pacific. Addressed the issue of Reformed Multilateralism. Signed the Cultural Exchange Program for 2023-26,” Jaishankar tweeted.
Jaishankar also met the second Vice President of the Senate of Colombia, Honorio Henriquez, and had conversations focused on health collaboration, energy and technology.
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