Lima: Seeking to take India`s ties with resource-rich Latin American countries to a higher plane, Vice President Hamid Ansari arrived in Peru on Sunday on the first leg of his two-nation tour in the region.
Ansari`s visit is the first by an Indian Vice President to Peru, with communist Cuba as his next stop.
Several agreements including one on setting up of a joint commission and another in the area of culture are expected to be signed during the three-day visit to Peru. The two sides will also hold talks on finalising a bilateral promotion and protection agreement.
Another highlight of the visit will be launching of INCHAM (Indian Chambers of Commerce), an organisation that will help greater facilitation for Indian trade and industry to do business in Latin America, especially Peru.
India is seeking greater trade and investment with the country which is rich in minerals and hydrocarbons. Bilateral trade between India and Peru in 2012 was USD 1.16 billion.
The Indian move has come at a time when Peru`s trade with China has grown significantly and China is one of the most important markets for Peruvian exports. Beijing has emerged as a very large trading partner and investor for Lima.
Peru is the world`s largest producer of silver, second-largest producer of copper and zinc and fifth largest producer of gold. It has an estimated 15 TCF (Trillion Cubic Feet) of recoverable gas reserves.
Ansari`s visit coincides with the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Peru.
To mark the occasion, Ansari inaugurated the Festival of India at which his Peruvian counterpart Marisol Espinoza Cruz was also present. The festival, which will run till October 31, is also being held in Cuba, the next stop of the Vice President.
India-Peru relations have traditionally been cordial and friendly and Lima is also a member of NAM and G-77. Both countries are expected to discuss a free trade agreement soon.
During his visit, Ansari will also meet Peru`s foreign minister and its foreign trade and tourism minister. He will also call on Peruvian President Ollanta Humala.