SUCRE : Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture, Smt. Meenakashi Lekhi (MOS) concluded her latest four-nation official visit to the Latin America and Caribbean region with a bilateral visit to Bolivia on 20 January 2023. This was her first visit to the country and came nearly four years after a State Visit by the President of India to Bolivia in March 2019.
During the visit, MOS met H.E. Mr. Rogelio Mayta, Minister of Foreign Affairs and held comprehensive discussions covering the entire gamut of relations in bilateral, regional and multilateral spheres. She also interacted with Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Mr. Erwin Freddy Mamani Machaca and Vice Minister of Foreign Trade and Integration H.E. Mr. Benjamin Juan Carlos Blanco Ferri.
The discussions on bilateral front focused on all areas of importance including long term partnership in lithium and battery sector, cooperation in metals and minerals, health & pharmaceuticals, traditional systems of medicine, Space, development cooperation & capacity building, promotion of trade and business, energy, infrastructure development in railways, cultural and people to people exchanges and ease of business travel. It was agreed to take action on various matters to further enhance bilateral engagement and achieve desired results. MOS invited Bolivian nationals to make use of capacity building support extended by India through ITEC, ICCR, SSIFS and other Specialised Centres of Excellence.
Both sides discussed regional issues and opportunities for cooperation. Views were exchanged on global issues and developments of mutual interest, including reformed multilateralism, climate change, etc.
As part of promotion of cultural understanding and appreciation, MOS, together with Vice Foreign Minister Freddy Mamani, visited Lake Titicaca for its civilisational, cultural and historical significance. In the past, International Day of Yoga was celebrated on the shores of this sacred lake. MOS also visited the Tiwanaku Archaeological Complex and Museum and interacted with the authorities. The lighting of the complex was undertaken with the support of Government of India as part of our Development Cooperation with Bolivia.
The visit of MOS to Bolivia demonstrates the importance India attaches to its relations with the Andean country and reaffirms commitment to further deepen engagement. Bilateral trade is growing and India is among the top four global trading partners of Bolivia. The visit is expected to impart further momentum to expanding ties and help realise the potential in sectors of mutual interest.