India signs 4 agreements with Peru

Peru also came out in support of India`s claim for permanent membership in an expanded UN Security Council.

Lima: Giving a boost to its ties with the fastest growing Latin American country, India has signed four agreements with Peru including one on defence cooperation and another on establishment of a Joint Commission.

The two other agreements are on exchange programme in the field of education and another a letter of intent for cooperation in the field of culture.

These agreements were signed yesterday at the end of Vice President Hamid Ansari`s three-day visit to the Latin America country.

Peru also came out in support of India`s claim for permanent membership in an expanded UN Security Council.

The two countries also asserted that terrorism cannot be justified "in any form for any cause or for any reason".

Seeking to give a major economic thrust in its ties with the energy and mineral rich country, Vice President also launched the Indian Chambers of Commerce (INCHAM) that will facilitate Indian trade and industry to do business in Peru and other countries of Latin America.

The INCHAM is becoming operational at a time when Peru is rapidly becoming one of the more important trade partners for India in this region.

Ansari said that the new organisation promises to fill what has so far been a vacuum in India-Peru commercial and economic relations.

The official website of INCHAM was also launched.

In a joint statement yesterday, the two countries underlined that a Free Trade agreement between them will have a "positive impact" on increasing prosperity and wellbeing of the people of two countries.

"The Peruvian side welcomed Indian initiative of undertaking a comprehensive study on this important subject that will have far reaching implications for both the countries," the statement added.

The two sides also agreed that early conclusion of their ongoing negotiations on instruments to promote and protect bilateral investments would greatly assist the businesses of both countries.

The Vice President had a special meeting with the President of Peru Ollanta Humala Tasso and extended an invitation to him to visit India, which was accepted.

Ansari will leave for Cuba today in the first bilateral visit by a VVIP to the Communist country with which India`s ties are deep, enduring and historical.

India-Peru bilateral trade is increasing very quickly and has gone up by 7 times in the last 5 years. The growth rate last year was 35 percent. In the first six months of this year, it rose by over 44 percent.

Indian investments in Peru are also rising. The number of Indian companies with offices here is increasing steadily, as also the number of Indian professionals working here.

Eight Indian Companies have made investments in the mining sector including for iron ore, manganese as also gold.

IFFCO and Zuari Agro have made investments in potash.

Union Minister Jitin Prasada, Ambassador of India to Peru Manpreet Vohra and Secretary Ministry of culture Ravindra Singh signed the agreements on India`s behalf in the presence of Ansari and his Peruvian counterpart Marisol Espinoza.

Peruvian Foreign Minister Eda Rivas Franchini signed most of the agreements on her country`s behalf.

Franchini hailed India as one of the "foremost important economy in the world" and appreciated its progress in various fields, especially science and technology.

Ansari`s visit to Peru came at a time when both countries are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between them.

As part of the celebrations, Ansari inaugurated the Festival of India here.