India and Chile share cordial relations. The foreign policy of both nations has many commonalities on a wide range of issues. Both countries are committed to multilateralism and have strongly advocated the reform of the United Nations and in particular, the UN Security Council. Both countries are also Member States of the Non-Aligned Movement and have incorporated the tenets and principles of NAM in their foreign policy outlook and action.
Relations between the two countries were further strengthened by the official visit of Indian President Ram Nath Kovind to Chile at the invitation of Chilean President Sebastian Piñera Echenique. The two leaders held a detailed discussion on a range of issues such as trade, multilateralism and bilateral cooperation.
Both India and Chile are committed to establishing an international order based on rule of law and the principles enshrined in the UN Charter. Thus, the Indian and Chilean President reiterated the commitment to the promotion of democracy, and human rights.
Both the leaders also acknowledged the need for a peaceful international order and denounced terrorism as a major threat to world peace. Both the countries attach significance to the UNSC Resolution 1267 and have called upon all UN Member States to implement the same. Both leaders also called upon all countries to work towards eliminating terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and financing channels. They emphasized the need for stronger international partnership in countering terrorism and extremism, including through increased sharing of information to combat terrorism, also bilaterally. Both leaders also expressed the importance of early finalization of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT). The Indian President also thanked Chile for its strong condemnation of the recent Pulwama terror attack. The two countries 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.
Defence cooperation is an important aspect of India- Chile relations. During President Kovind’s visit, 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 field including jointly manufacturing defence equipment under the Make in India program.
As mentioned earlier, India and Chile have reiterated calls for a reform of the UNSC. India and Chile have called for an increased representation of Global South in the UNSC decision – making process and have called for an expansion in both Permanent and Non-Permanent categories of membership so as to make the body more accountable, transparent, inclusive and effective, which reflects the interests of a multipolar global order. Chile also reiterated support for India`s candidature for a permanent membership in a reformed and expanded UN Security Council, while reaffirming its support for India’s candidacy as non-permanent member for the term 2021 – 2022. On the other hand, India reiterated its endorsement of Chile’s candidacy to the same body for the term 2029 – 2030.
Trade relations between the two countries have been expanding. Chile is the sixth largest trading partner of India in the Latin American region. Bilateral trade between the two nations registered an impressive increase of 50% in 2017-18, to reach 2.8 billion US Dollars. India’s export to Chile have grown since 2009. India’s exports to Chile are diverse which consist of transport equipment, drugs and pharmaceuticals, yarn of polyester fibres, tyres and tubes, manufacture of metals, articles of apparel, organic/inorganic and agrochemicals, textiles, readymade garments, plastic goods, leather products, engineering goods, imitation jewellery, sports goods and handicrafts. Major items of Import from Chile are copper ore and concentrates, iodine, copper anodes, copper cathodes, molybdenum ores & concentrates, lithium carbonates & oxide, metal scrap, inorganic chemicals, pulp & waste paper, fruits & nuts excluding cashews, fertilizers and machinery.
In 2017, India and Chile expanded the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) whereby Chile offered concessions to India on 1798 tariff lines with the margin of preference (MoP) ranging from 30% to 100%, while India has offered concessions on 1031 tariff lines at 8-digit level with MoP ranging from 10% to 100%. Both the leaders sized the need to continue working on it and exploring new opportunities for expansion of bilateral trade.
Further, they underlined the importance of holding the Second Joint Administration Committee to review the implementation of the Agreement and exploring new opportunities for a broader and more comprehensive agreement.
By Dr. Ankit Srivastava, Editor