Latin America, Caribbean and India Promise and ChallengeINVC NEWS New Delhi, India- Latin America and the Caribbean relations are warm & friendly.” We share common values of democracy, human rights and are members of international organisations, working together on issues of terrorism, food security and climate change, Shri Vinod Kumar, Additional Secretary, Ministery of External Affairs stated while making his special remarks on the occasion of the release function of the book, “Latin America, Caribbean and India: Promise and Challenge’ by Ambassador Deepak Bhojwani at the Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi on 09 April 2015. Shri Kumar was representing General (Retd.) Vijay Kumar Singh, Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs, who could not attend the event due to the extension of the evacuation plans in Yemen.

The eminent panellists who were present to make their remarks on the book were Ambassador R. Rajagopalan, H.E. Mr. Carlos Sergio Sobral Duarte, Ambassador of the Federative Republic of Brazil, and H.E. Mr. Havier Paulinich Velarde, Ambassador of the Republic of Peru.

The DG, in his opening address, welcomed the wide cross section of the audience comprising former ambassadors, academics, media personnel and research scholars. He highlighted the traditional friendship between India and Latin America and Caribbean region (LAC). He stated that the book is an insight into the society, local culture and population of LAC. He further stressed that due to its content, which transcends from the history of the region to the present engagements, and the easy language used, it is a book that would interest not just for experts of LAC, but anyone who wants to know about the region. It is written in a manner to engage every reader.

Ambassador Rajagopalan in his remarks said the book is a synthesis of the complex issues that are faced by both India & LAC. He valued the book not just for the historical facts that it brings forth or the research done by the author, but also because it is based on the personal experience of the author. He felt that the author has been able to bring his deep knowledge and affection for the region along with his own research in a book that would help bridge the gap in literature on the region.

Ambassador Duarte in his remarks highlighted the commonalities that exist between India and LAC which overshadow the divergences. He also pointed out that like India, Brazil was also aware that it could not develop if the region did not prosper.  He added that the author has been able to capture the essence of the India-Brazil relations and the book is a unique read to understand a diverse and complex region.

Ambassador Velarde remarked there is a need to establish more high level visits between India and the countries of the region. He further added that today soft power is an instrument of foreign policy and enhances people to people contact. This helps the common people build relations which are as important as relations between governments. He said India is a cradle of civilisation, culture, yoga, films and literature. These are elements of its soft power which it can be used to further engage with LAC. Lastly, he pointed out that both are developing regions and face similar problems which can be solved together.

Shri Vinod Kumar in his remarks said India- LAC relations are very important to India. The region is the second largest supplier of crude oil to India and Indian industry is exploring avenues to invest there. He added there is more potential and promise in this relationship but we have to face the challenges together.

Gen. V. K. Singh, Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs in his video message from Djibouti said the book has insights that are not just historical but also help shape future relations with the region.  He concluded by saying that India will strengthen its relations with the region. There is potential for growth as India and LAC strengthen the relationship further.