Visits Visits

Address by Vice President at India- Costa Rica Business Forum (March 07, 2019)

March 07, 2019

Namaskar, Good evening,
Buenas Noches,
H.E Mrs. Epsy Campbell Barr, Vice President of Costa Rica
H.E Mrs. Dyala Jimenez, Minister for Foreign Trade of Costa Rica
Shri K J Alphons, Minister of State for Tourism, Government of India,
Ambassador of India to Panama and accredited to Costa Rica, Shri Ravi Thapar,
Shri R K Kashyap, Member of Parliament,
Members of my delegation,
Members of the business communities of India and Costa Rica,

Sisters and brothers,

I am extremely happy to be with you this evening. To be frank I have been reading about Costa Rica since my student days.

Because it is an interesting thing as the Hon’ble minister was explaining about tourism and other potentials and all, the location advantage but at the same time a country not having military is a matter of great interest and one has to really appreciate that.

So I was eager to see the country after reading it in the history books but I did not had an opportunity but today as the constitutional, responsible authority of India I have an occasion to come here, meet you all and greet you all.

That is why I am really delighted to be here with you all at the India-Costa Rica Business Forum. The Latin America and Caribbean region is rich in resources essential for India’s energy and food security and boasts abundant mineral wealth.

Tomorrow I will be meeting the President of Costa Rica H. E. Mr. Carlos Alvarado Quesada and other senior dignitaries. We shall be discussing in detail various sectors where we have complementarity and which we explore together for mutual benefit of our people.

Costa Rica, a peaceful and prosperous nation, with its prominent economic standing, political stability and democratic credentials, and India with its strong growth and technological prowess can be significant partners, both from the political and commercial point of view.

You are all aware that India is the largest democracy in the world and we have a successful parliamentary system in our country.

India has made significant progress in various fields, especially in those pertaining to high engineering skills and science and technology.

With a GDP of US 2.6 trillion dollars, India is today the sixth largest economy in the world, which is growing every year at the robust rate of around 7.5%.

In 2008, India became the fourth country in the world to send a vehicle to the Moon in the very first attempt – that too at an economical cost of US$60 million.

India today manufactures everything from satellites, light combat aircraft, missiles, cars and other major high technology industrial products.

Although we have an immense population of more than 1330 million, our huge human capital is a national asset, as unlike many other economies, India has one of the youngest populations in the whole world.

We also have the third largest pool of technical manpower and experts in the world. All these aspects, coupled with our immense middle class market of 300-350 million persons, institutionalized economic and financial processes fostered under stable democratic governance systems - which are subject to critical review by an independent judiciary and a free and investigative media - positions India as a unique destination for International Trade and Business.

My dear brothers and sisters,

I can share with you before occupying this constitutional responsibility I was a minister in the government looking after Urban Development, Housing, Poverty Alleviation, Parliamentary Affairs, and Information Broadcasting. I can tell you that ambassador after ambassador, they used to come to us and show keen interest to invest in India because today India is fast forward in reforms.

The Prime Minister gave a three line advice, we call it as the mantra, he said, Reform, Perform and Transform. Transform the nation in every sense, transformation of the lives of people, transformation of the system, transformation of the governance.

That is what is happening in India, we have opened up 100 percent FDI in many sectors including defence sector also in certain areas and also now the buzz word in India is, people used to complain in different parts of the world about the red tape delay. The prime minister said no more red tape, it should be red carpet whoever wishes to invest in India they are welcome with open arms.

Ease of approvals and ease of doing business, you would all have noticed the World Bank has recognized the way in which India is progressing as reforms and ease of approval are concerned.

During the last four and a half years, under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister of Shri Narendra Bhai Modi, various reforms for facilitating global business and Foreign Direct Investment have also been undertaken in India.

As a consequence, during the last year itself, India has jumped 23 places to 77th rank in the Global Ease of Doing Business Countries List. Everyday more and more multinationals are setting up business operations in India.

The Government of India's special focus on priority initiatives such as 'Make in India', 'Start up India', 'Digital India' . Prime Minister also gave us simple advice of MISIDICI i.e. Make in India, Skill India, Digital India, Clean India, in short that is called as MISIDICI, it is also attracting worldwide attention.

As a consequence, many new global corporations are investing in or setting up joint ventures in various sectors such as Infrastructure, Roads and Transportation, Healthcare, Telecommunications, Power, Urban Development, Smart Cities, Metro Rails, Civil Aviation, Education, Hospitality and Tourism etc. where unique opportunities for investing millions of US dollars exist.

We are also ready to go for PPP model i.e. Public Private Partnership not only of Indians but also foreigners. That successful experiment of the PPP model has become a success story of Delhi Airport, the National Capital Airport, the Mumbai Airport, our financial capital airport and Hyderabad Airport, Bengaluru Airport, they are a testimony to the success of Public Private Partnership, that is the mood of the nation.

In every state we have federal government, we have provincial government and we have local self-government ruled by different political parties but the beauty of it is there is team India spirit. Center and State, though they have different political views but they work together as for the reforms are concerned, as for the development of people is concerned. That is why reforms are being accelerated and the development is also fast tracked.

Various incentives such as tax holidays, single window clearances, facilitation by entities like Invest-India, as also freedom to repatriate profits and dividends after payment of prescribed taxes, result in high return on investments and make India an attractive destination for investment.

Costa Rican companies are invited to invest and benefit. Many Costa Rican CEOs and influential businessmen have close connections with angel investors and businessmen in developed countries and may look at expanding to India.

Both our countries share close business ties. Indian IT companies, as mentioned by the Hon’ble Minister such as Infosys, Wipro, L&T Infotech, WNS and others are present here and others such as Bajaj Auto and Gravita also have business ties with Costa Rica. However, there is ample scope for intensifying such ties for mutual benefit.

Costa Rica is the 13th leading Trading Partner of India in Latin American region. India-Costa Rica bilateral trade in 2017-18 was US$201 million. The exports to Costa Rica were US $134 million while the imports from Costa Rica were US$67 mn.

There is a lot of untapped potential and scope for our economic engagement to grow.

Costa Rica has been participating in the India-LAC Conclaves held enabling the businessmen on the two sides to explore areas of mutual interest.

While the immense geographical distance had been a challenge earlier with some constraints in deepening ongoing bilateral engagement, the seamless connectivity made possible by digital communications and globalization in the recent decades, throws up new and excellent opportunities for both the countries to intensify ongoing business ties.

We can together work on critical and innovative technologies of mutual interest in areas such as Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology, Digital Sciences and telecommunications, Agriculture and Food Processing, Renewable Energy, Space Research and Climate Change.

We also have some expertise in agriculture, India basically an agriculture country, our basic culture is agriculture. We are focusing, it is an area where both the countries can work together, exchange information, know the success stories and take forward the need to enhance the agriculture income for agriculturists, be it value addition or food processing. These are some of the areas where we can cooperate with each other.

India's world class engineers can certainly engage with their Costa Rican counterparts in various high technology projects which would give Costa Rica a new technology edge. This is particularly significant because the coming centuries will increasingly belong to countries which have proficiency in knowledge-based industries.

It may be matter of interest to you that many of the multinational companies in the US, they are all headed by Indian including the giant of the information technology, Nadella Satya is the CEO, Indira Nooyi, Gita Gopinath is the International Monetary Fund’s Chief Economic Advisor is from India and even the Bank of America Mr. SaggurtiPurna is also from India. I can give you lot of examples like that with all proves like the intelligence, the expertise and the technical knowhow that is available in India.

My dear friends, brothers and sisters,

India is blessed with a demographic dividend. 666 percent of Indian population is below 35 years, so it is an aspirational India. The youngsters are coming with new innovations and the prime minister’s stress on startups, innovation, incubation that is the buzz word going on and the government is also encouraging the new out of box ideas and also funding such innovations.

My dear friends,

The eco-system for implementing such cooperation already exists in Costa Rica. We congratulate President Quesada and his government for their futuristic vision of making Costa Rica carbon-free country by 2021.

We also commend the aspirations of the Costa Rican youth to acquire high proficiency academic qualifications for embarking on ambitious careers. These are the attributes which encouraged global multinationals to set up operations here.

It is also the hard work and enterprise of Costa Rican entrepreneurs and engineers which makes Costa Rica an important economy and a leading services sector hub in Central America. The time is therefore opportune for taking the next few steps.

It is a well-known fact that the availability of generic, low cost pharmaceutical medicines is an urgent requirement in entire Central and Latin America.

I have been to Guatemala, to Panama, to Peru and some other countries including African countries. Everywhere there is a demand for Indian generic medicines. The cost of Indian generic medicines is very low when you compare with the multinationals companies cost, that is the need of the hour.

The medical facilities must be not only made available but also should be made affordable. That is the need of the hour particularly for the developing countries and India has developed expertize in that and Indian pharmaceutical companies are working in the entire Central and Latin America.

India as you know is recognized all over the world for its unique capabilities in production of low cost medicines. Many of the Indian pharmaceutical companies have a large number of US Foods and Drugs Administration (FDA) approvals for exporting generic pharmaceutical products to the US market.

Some Costa Rican companies could consider setting up joint ventures with appropriate Indian pharma companies for manufacture and distribution of essential pharmaceutical products in Costa Rica and neighboring markets.

India is the world's largest producer of milk. Indian private and public sector dairy companies, many of them functioning under the umbrella of Dairy Cooperatives, have developed innovative practices for processing, marketing and sale of dairy products which could be usefully applied in Costa Rica also.

Indian agro-scientists have won international patents for developing critical agricultural techniques and processes, such as for high yielding variety of seeds, cross fertilization techniques and other such areas.

India today is globally reputed because of its world class hospitals and healthcare facilities, available at fraction of the cost it would cost in the west.

I can share with you in all frankness, earlier any politician of India if they were diseased, they used to go to States but today the story is otherwise. People from Europe, people from African countries, people from other Asian countries, they are all coming to India because India is becoming a health tourist destination because it is affordable. And Indian doctors are all well recognized. Even in US also, if you identify the top doctors, half of them will at least be from India. That is the knowledge and intelligence of Indian doctors.

We could explore joint projects in urban transportation, railways and port management.

India has the second largest rail network in the world, one of the largest and then we are making new experiments. We are going for a bullet train and we also have the aviation sector expanding very fast reaching even very small tier II and tier III cities. This is one area where we can work together.

Port management is also an important aspect of the developmental course of India. The inland water transport is also another priority area for India. We also have expertise in building of the national highways. I found that Costa Rica roads are very good.

Costa Rica is an international tourist destination and could be brought on the tourist circuit of Indian travelers. Indian film producers could be encouraged to shoot at picturesque locales in Costa Rica bringing it immediately to the attention of millions of Indians.

India, you will be surprised to know that we produce more than 2000 films every year. Film industry is very popular and now it is spreading across the globe and I am told there are beautiful locations here in Costa Rica, the only problem is little distance otherwise by this time our people would have come here and then they have chosen these locations and put the picturesque Costa Rican beauty in the international films.

Our business, academic and science & technology communities in both countries should engage more deeply with each other. The more the people to people linkages, the better would they serve the shared goal of enhanced trade, economic and scientific cooperation. Towards this goal, India already extends e-Visa facility to Costa Rican nationals.

I take this opportunity to again thank all of you and especially all the Representatives from the Government of Costa Rica. We are all assembled here for facilitating this meeting.


I can tell you that now India is on the move. The World Bank, the World Economic Forum, International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank and the Moody’s Rating, everybody is indicating that if India moves at this speed, it would become third largest economy in the world in the coming 10-15 years. That is the situation in India.

So you all are welcome to visit India, enjoy the hospitality and also see the culture, the beauty of Indian culture of share and care is the core of Indian culture.

India in spite of being an ancient civilization, it is ancient like Egypt, Babylonia, Roman, Greek civilization, India never and never attacked any country despite of being one of the country known as Vishwa-Guru, the World Leader in Knowledge, that was the title.

Students from abroad used to come to India to Nalanda and Takshila and Pushpgiri and other universities. Chinese historians like Hiuen Tsang and FaHien, they wrote about India and its wisdom. But India never attacked any country.

All other Tom, Dick and Harry came and attacked us, rules us, like you have seen, you also have the experience of being colonial rules around some of the Latin American countries but we never, because we believed in VasudhaivaKutumbakam i.e. the entire universe is one family.

And the culture of Costa Rica where you don’t have army, don’t feel the need of army because you don’t get involved into disputes and you want to live in harmony with the nature, that makes India and Costa Rica similar.

We have so many things in similar and also we both are democratic countries, wedded to the principles of democracy and people’s will should be present at the end of the day. So that being the case there are great opportunities. Let us join together, work together, move together and then create a better world.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.

Muchas Gracias

Page Feedback


Post A Comment

  • Name *
    E-mail *
  • Write Your Comment *
  • Verification Code * Verification Code