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Ram Nath Kovind in Chile: President holds bilateral talks with counterpart Sebastian Pinera, inks MoUs in mining, culture, disability

Santiago: President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday discussed wide ranging issues of mutual interest with his Chilean counterpart Sebastian Pinera as the two sides signed three memorandums of understanding in the fields of mining, culture and disability.

Kovind, who arrived here on Sunday after visiting Bolivia and Croatia, is on the last leg of his three-nation visit.

"President Pinera and I had a wide ranging discussion on all issues of mutual interest. We exchanged views and assessments of our respective neighbourhoods and regions," he said.

Thanking Pinera for his strong condemnation of the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir, the President said the two countries have agreed to work together to strengthen global response to defeat and destroy terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and hold those responsible, accountable for their brutality against humanity.

 Ram Nath Kovind in Chile: President holds bilateral talks with counterpart Sebastian Pinera, inks MoUs in mining, culture, disability

President Ram Nath Kovind (left) with Chilean counterpart, Sebastian Pinera. Twitter/@rashtrapatibhvn

India offered training slots to Chilean armed forces in the premier defence institutions including for courses in mountain warfare and peacekeeping. The two countries also agreed to explore opportunities for other cooperation in the defence sector.

"The two countries should also seize the opportunity to jointly manufacture defence equipment," Kovind said.

Noting that the bilateral relations between India and Chile are on an "upward curve", Kovind said, "Today we have signed three MoUs in the fields of mining, culture and disability. These would further enhance our engagement in economic, social and cultural fields."

Chile is the sixth largest trading partner of India in the Latin American region. The bilateral trade between the two nations registered an impressive increase of 50 percent in 2017-18, to reach $ 2.8 billion.

Kovind said he is hopeful that the India-Chile Preferential Trade Agreement with increased tariff lines would further contribute towards enhancement of bilateral trade.

The President invited Chilean companies to invest in Indian mining, infrastructure, defence and food processing sectors under 'Make in India', 'Smart Cities' and 'Digital India' programmes.

"Given our commitment to environment and sustainability, India is particularly keen to strengthen lithium partnership with Chile...Indian companies are also eager to strengthen their presence in Chile especially in IT, pharma, automobiles and mining sectors," Kovind said.

He also said that India look forward to work with Chile to promote solar energy worldwide and enhance global action to combat climate change as both the countries are partners in the International Solar Alliance.

The President also welcomed Chile's decision to allow visa-free entry to Indian nationals holding a valid US visa, saying the step would promote both cultural and business ties between the two countries.

Earlier, Kovind reviewed the Guard of Honour along with Pinera at the Presidential Palace La Moneda.

"Chile officially welcomes President of India! #PresidentKovind walks the Red Carpet and reviews Guard of Honour along with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera at the Presidential Palace " La Moneda" in Santiago," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Ravish Kumar tweeted.

In the morning, the President laid a wreath at Monument of General Bernardo O' Higgins, who struggled for Chile's independence from Spain.

"Before starting his official engagement with his counterpart #Presidentkovind laid a wreath at Monument of General Bernardo O' Higgins, who struggled for Chile's independence from Spain," Kumar said in a tweet.

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Updated Date: Apr 02, 2019 11:17:19 IST

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