Mexico, India launch "new phase" in bilateral relations

Other News Materials 18 April 2008 00:17 (UTC +04:00)

Mexican President Felipe Calderon met with Indian President Pratibha Patil on Thursday at the presidential palace Los Pinos, saying at a ceremony that they favoured closer ties between the two countries. ( dpa )

" Mexico is ready for a new stage of educational, academic and cultural exchanges that enrich our highest values, and for a boost towards greater trade and investment flows which accelerate both nations' economic growth," Calderon said.

He noted that India and Mexico have a "historic opportunity" to build closer ties, which can also help India consolidate its presence across Latin America.

Patil, in turn, stressed the similarities between Mexico and India, two developing economies with large populations and a great cultural heritage.

She noted that the two countries face similar challenges with a similar vision, and they both have a significant presence in the international community.

India and Mexico are members of the high-profile Group of Five (G- 5), which also includes fellow-emerging economies China, Brazil and South Africa, which have been demanding concessions in World Trade Organization negotiations.

The two presidents were set to meet privately and to sign agreements on Thursday, the first day of a visit that is set to end Sunday. Calderon was to host a dinner for the Indian delegation.

Patil had also scheduled meetings with the business community, and with the Indian community in Mexico.

The Mexican Congress was to host Patil at a solemn session Thursday. However, this was cancelled in the face of an occupation of both chambers of Congress by leftist legislators protesting against an energy reform proposal.

Calderon invited Patil to visit Mexico during his September visit to New Delhi.

According to Mexican government data, India is the eighth-largest Asia-Pacific investor in Mexico, with an cumulative investment of 1.6 billion dollars since 1994.

Bilateral trade totals 1.8 billion dollars, with a 365-million- dollar Mexican deficit.