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Visit of Vice President of India to Panama ( May 8-10, 2018)

May 11, 2018

In his first official overseas visit, Hon’ble Vice President of India H.E. Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu visited Panama from 8-10 May 2018, in the second leg of his tour of Latin America. He was accompanied by a high-level delegation including Minister of State for Tribal Affairs and an all-party delegation represented by the Members of Parliament from different political parties in India, and senior officers of the Government of India.

In an unprecedented gesture, the visit was upgraded and the President of the Republic of Panama H.E. Mr. Mr. Juan Carlos Varela Rodrigues led the talks, beginning with Tete-e-tete and continuing with delegation level talks which were held for more than two hours. This was followed by banquet hosted by President Varela, who later chaperoned him around the Panama Canal. The Panamanian delegation included the Vice President and Foreign Minister of Panama and other senior Cabinet Ministers and senior officials from Commerce & Industry, Science and Technology, Agriculture, Security, Energy and two Members of Parliament.

In-depth and focused discussions were held during the talks. The two leaders expressed satisfaction with the status of the bilateral relations, marked by a spirit of solidarity, cooperation and mutual respect. They exchanged views on the current political and economic situation of their respective countries. On the economic side, President Varela invited investments in IT, agriculture, cold storage, textile, pharma sectors with prominent Indian participation in biotechnology, innovation and space cooperation.

They also discussed the growth stories of the two counties and collaboration beyond bilateral issues. They agreed to hold discussions on intelligence sharing and human trafficking issues.

The two sides expressed satisfaction that the current level of bilateral trade, to the tune of US$ 424 million, is steadily expanding. Nevertheless, the potential for expansion being significant, more focus was needed for the promising sectors of growth.

In keeping with India's commitment to contribute tangibly to Panama's economic development, India announced two Credit Lines of assistance for setting up a Centre for Biodiversity and Drug Discovery [valued at US$ 10 million] and another for setting up a Centre for Innovation & Technology [valued at US$ 15 million].

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu thanked the Government of Panama for the recent measures taken towards facilitating issue of visas to Indian businessmen and other visitors wishing to visit Panama. Indian e-visa facilitation was highlighted. Both sides agreed this would boost tourism and people-to-people contact.

The two sides reaffirmed their firm condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and agreed to strengthen cooperation and support to each other in combating terrorism, in international fora.

The leaders reiterated the commitment of their respective Governments towards the principles of democratic values, respect for human rights and the fundamental freedoms that are essential to securing the well-being and the social and economic development of the global population in an environment of peace, social justice and equity.

The two sides agreed to continue consultations and cooperation on issues of common interest in UN and other multilateral fora such as the World Trade Organization.

An MoU for Exemption of Visa for Diplomatic, Official and Consular Passport Holders was signed. A Work Plan for implementing the existing MoU between the Ministry of Agriculture of India and the Ministry of Agriculture Development of Panama for Cooperation in the Field of Agricultural Research and Education was also signed.

Panama welcomed India's proposal for setting up a Telemetry, Tracking and Tele Command (TTC) Earth station in Panama for supporting operations of geostationary communication and meteorological satellites of the Indian Space & Research Organization (ISRO), which could guide research and analysis by Panamanian experts in the fields of agriculture, meteorology, disaster management, climate change, etc .

In order to give fillip to cooperation in key areas, both sides agreed to expedite ongoing discussions for finalization of MoUs for strengthening cooperation in the fields of Exchange of Tax Information, Economic Cooperation, Maritime Cooperation, Air Services, Traditional Medicines, Culture, and Space.

As the largest democracy in the world, the Indian side expressed keenness in deepening bilateral engagement at the Parliamentary level between both countries. Exchanges and interaction in this regard would be facilitated under the umbrella of the India-Latin American Parliamentary Friendship Group.

Vice President invited Panama to become part of the International solar Alliance Arrangement.

On 10th May, Vice President gave an Address at the Panama Foreign Office Auditorium to a gathering of 250 persons including Ambassadors, senior members of the diplomatic core, young Panamanian Diplomats, Students of University of Panama and leading Indian businessmen. He along with MOS Tribal Affairs and the accompanying Members of Parliament paid floral tributes at the Mahatma Gandhi Statue in Panama City.

Hon’ble Vice President of India thanked the Government of Panama for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to the Indian delegation.

Panama
May 10, 2018

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