India, Mexico discuss strategic partnership

New Delhi: India is considering raising bilateral ties with Mexico to the level of a “strategic partnership”, said people aware of the matter, underscoring New Delhi’s growing tilt toward Latin America.

Mexico, one of India’s largest trade partners in the region, has also made an aggressive push toward India in the last few years. External affairs minister S Jaishankar visited Mexico in 2021 and Mexico’s foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard has visited New Delhi twice in just the last year.

India currently enjoys “strategic partnership”-level ties with countries such as Italy and Mongolia. According to the people cited above, both sides are currently working to establish a security dimension to bilateral ties, which have traditionally remained underdeveloped. They said prior to lifting the ties to strategic partnership level, both sides will have to broaden their existing ties to include security affairs. While traditional military exercises may not be on the table, a potential avenue for cooperation can be joint training for peacekeeping exercises.

As India’s trade with Latin America tops $50 billion, the potential development of lithium reserves for electric mobility is a key impetus to deepen bilateral ties. Both sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding earlier this year to further cooperation in the lithium sector.

In a recent interview, Federico Salas Lotfe, Mexican Ambassador to India, said his country was looking to bring Indian electric mobility firms like Sun Mobility to Mexican shores. He also stated that joint ventures between Indian and Mexican firms on the uses of lithium could also be realized over the medium term. India has a $10 billion bilateral trade with Mexico, which includes energy trade.

Mint earlier reported India and Mexico holding talks on a Free Trade Agreement.

Early stage talks are also taking place to expand the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with MERCOSUR, which counts Brazil and Argentina among its membership.

This forms part of a broader push towards Latin America that has intensified in recent years. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is currently in the region and has visited Guyana, Panama and Colombia. He is currently visiting the Dominican Republic, the last stop in his tour of the region. Prior to this, he undertook a three-nation tour of Latin America in 2022. Increasing trade, energy diversification needs and the possibility of collaboration on critical minerals are all crucial economic imperatives for India.

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