India, Argentina ink nine pacts, Argentina President meets Manmohan Singh

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New Delhi, Oct.14 (ANI): Visiting Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here on Wednesday and both countries signed nine agreements, including ones pertaining to sports, science and technology, industrial research, hydrocarbons, trade promotion and business visas.

Amongst the agreements signed was a pact on business visas signed by External Affairs Minister S.M.Krishna and his Argentine counterpart Jorge Taiana.

India's junior minister for Science and Technology, Prithviraj Singh Chauhan and his Argentine counterpart signed another agreement on cooperation in science and technology, spread over three years between 2009 and 2011

Prior to the signing of the bilateral pacts, the two sides expressed satisfaction with the mutually beneficial cooperation and partnership between India and Argentina encompassing political, economic, scientific and technological cooperation including Antarctic research and cultural cooperation.

They agreed to work together for further enhancement of their multifaceted relationship to a higher level based on a long term perspective and shared democratic values, respect for human rights, mutual understanding and cooperation and similarity of views on major international issues.

Both sides highlighted the importance of further enhancing the exchange of high-level bilateral visits, including at the level of Head of State and Head of Government.

The two sides reiterated their will to continue and expand bilateral dialogue and cooperation comprehensively. This comprehensive dialogue is based on common values and interests and will aim at mutually beneficiary cooperation in all spheres, including among others dialogue on political and strategic issues, economic and trade relations, consular issues, energy, investment, services and tourism as well as science and technology, culture and education.

Both leaders desired that this comprehensive dialogue should lead to a strategic partnership that will cover global issues of common concern including in the framework of the UN its specialised organisations and other fora and groups of countries in which both parties participate.

In order to achieve concrete results flowing from their dialogue the leaders directed their Foreign Ministries to energize their consultations and workout a plan of action. For this purpose, Foreign Office Consultations will be held in 2010 in India - The year of the Bicentennial of the May Revolution

Both leaders decided to encourage regular interactions between the respective legislative bodies. They agreed to expand bilateral exchanges between civil society and foster people-to-people contacts, promote tourism and develop closer cultural and academic ties.

Both sides noted that the next Joint Commission meeting is to be held in Argentina in the first half of 2010. Dates for the meeting would be finalized through mutual consultations.

The two sides also expressed satisfaction at the growing engagement between both sides in the trade and economic spheres. They noted that some Indian companies have made investments in Argentina and that bilateral trade increased from 694 million dollars in 2003 to 1328 million dollars in 2008 doubling in the last five years.

The two sides agreed that the bilateral trade target should be US $ 3 billion by 2012. Both leaders expressed keenness to expand and diversify trade and economic cooperation in areas in which Argentina and India have comparative advantages, and to utilize the untapped potential in this area.

In the context of encouraging greater trade between the two countries, both leaders agreed that efforts should be made to facilitate the entry of Argentine agricultural and agro-industrial products into India and the entry of Indian pharmaceutical products into Argentina.

In the context of deepening the ongoing bilateral cooperation in the agricultural sector, both leaders expressed satisfaction that the Memorandum of Understanding on Agriculture and Allied Sectors and the Memorandum of Understanding on Sanitary and Phytosanitary standards are at an advanced stage of finalization.

The leaders urged their competent authorities and technical teams to take the necessary measures to expand trade and investments They agreed to work together for enhancing bilateral investments in various sectors, including in knowledge- based industries and agro-industries.

The Argentine President welcomed Indian entrepreneurs stating that they will find a conducive environment for productive investment and skilled human resources. The Indian Prime Minister acknowledged the growing importance of Argentine business in India. Both sides welcomed the increasing contacts among their entrepreneurs which stress the ample business opportunities that exist.

Both leaders have recognized that trade and economic relations underpin bilateral relations.

In recognition of the need for fully realizing the untapped potential of bilateral trade and economic cooperation between India and Argentina, both countries have agreed, through exchange of formal communication between the Foreign Ministers of the two countries, to facilitate on reciprocity basis, five years multiple entry gratis visas for businessmen of each other's country. The Indian side welcomed the fact that the Argentine Consulate General and Trade Promotion Centre in Mumbai is already fully operational reflecting Argentina's decision to increase its presence in the Indian market and opening up new opportunities for entrepreneurs from both nations.

Both sides also noted the opportunities for bilateral cooperation in various sectors such as science and technology, agriculture, small and medium enterprises and agro-based industries, mining and hydrocarbons and civilian nuclear cooperation. They agreed to enhance direct contacts between the business circles of the two countries, including through participation in trade/commercial exhibitions in both countries as well as through contacts between regions and cities of the two countries.

Argentina and India, as active countries with a long tradition in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, also reiterated their intention to develop, promote and cooperate in this field in accordance with their respective international obligations and commitments. They will make use of the synergies existing between the two countries and the vast experience of their nuclear scientists and technologists.

Underlining the importance of bilateral cooperation in culture and education for promoting greater understanding and closer friendship between India and Argentina, both sides agreed to explore possibilities for cooperation in this area including by the establishment of linkages between each other's Universities and think tanks.

The two leaders expressed support for closer bilateral cooperation in the area of energy and for the utilization of renewable and alternative energy sources and respective technologies as a basis for sustainable development and as part of the global effort in addressing the challenges of Climate Change.

The two leaders shared the view that civil nuclear energy can play an important role as a safe, sustainable and non-polluting source of energy in meeting rising global demands for energy. Taking into account their respective capabilities and experience in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy both India and Argentina have agreed to encourage and support scientific, technical and commercial cooperation for mutual benefit in this field.

Both sides noted that the India-MERCOSUR PTA has come into force with effect from June 2009. They agreed that the operationalization of the PTA will further facilitate trade and improve market access between India and MERCOSUR. The two sides reiterated the desire of India and Argentina to widen and deepen the PTA.

The leaders welcomed the signature of several agreements in their presence as a testimony of the quality change observed in their mutual relations. They also encouraged ongoing negotiations in several fields to conclude successfully

The two leaders exchanged views on a broad range of regional and international issues of mutual interest, as well as issues of global concern such as the current global financial crisis, human rights, countering terrorism, climate change, disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, promoting sustainable development, addressing the environmental challenges and strengthening the social dimension of globalization.

The Indian and Argentine sides emphasized the essential role of the UN for maintaining global peace and security, for promoting the economic and social advancement of all people and for meeting global threats and challenges. India and Argentina stressed the need to implement the process of UN reforms to make it more representative, legitimate and effective. Moreover, they agreed that any expansion and restructuring of the Security Council must reflect contemporary realities, increase transparency and democracy and include developing countries.

Both parties agreed on the need to give a new impulse to multilateral negotiations in the area of disarmament, especially weapons of mass destruction. (ANI)

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