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India Chile Bilateral Relations

 

Government

 

Chile has a presidential form of government. The Head of State and Head of Government is President Sebastian Pinera Echenique (since 11 March 2010). Elections are due every 4 years. A President cannot run for office for two consecutive terms. Chile has a bicameral Parliament. The Senate has 38 Senators, with 8 year term (one half elected by popular vote every four years). The Chamber of Deputies has 120 MPs with a four year term. In the Lower House, the ruling coalition Alianza has 58 seats (UDI: 37; RN: 18; Others: 3); the opposition coalition Concertacion has 57 (PDC: 19; PPD: 18; PS:11; PRSD:5; PC:3; Other:1); while PRI has 3 and Independents 2. The Senate has 20 Senators from the Concertacion, 16 from the Alianza and 2 Independents.

 

Former President Dr. Michelle Bachelet paid a state visit to India from 16-20 March 09. She was accompanied by a high-level delegation including the Ministers of Agriculture and Women Empowerment and a business delegation. Bachelet held discussions with Rashtrapatiji and Prime Minister. Vice President, External Affairs Minister, leader of the Opposition and Chairman, UPA called on her. Prime Minister and Dr. Bachelet underlined the importance of enhancing trade and economic relations. Bachelet invited the President and Prime Minister to pay state visits to Chile. Bachelet thereafter visited Mumbai and Chennai and was conferred with a doctorate degree by Madras University. Bachelet also met industrialists and businesspersons in Mumbai and Chennai, besides meeting with Governors of Maharastra and Tamil Nadu. Hon’ble Rashtrapatiji had earlier visited Chile in April 2008.

 

Chile shares India’s views on a number of international issues, especially of developmental concern. Chile has a perceptive understanding and a non-intrusive view of the Kashmir issue. Chile shares India’s concerns over the threat of international terrorism, and has regularly condemned the acts of cross border terrorism that India has suffered. Chilean Parliament strongly condemned the terrorist attack on Indian Parliament. Chile also strongly condemned the terrorist attack in Mumbai on November 26, 2008.

 

Chile and India have similar views on expansion and reforms of UNSC. Chile has articulated its support for our claim to a permanent seat in the UNSC in a joint statement issued at the conclusion of the official visit of Chile’s Foreign Minister to India in April 2003 and Chile has continued to express this stand in our favour regularly since then.

 

Visits

 

Important visits like Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi (1968), President Shankar Dayal Sharma (1995) and Hon´ble President Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil (2008) from India have been made. Likewise, the Chilean Presidents Mr. Ricardo Lagos Escobar (2005) and Dr. Michelle Bachelet (2009) have also visited India. Defence Chiefs from all three services from both sides have also visited each other’s countries. In addition, many Ministerial visits have also been exchanged. Recent visits from India include those of MOS for Commerce and Industry Shri Jyotiraditya Scindia visited Chile (September 2010), Shri. Dinsha J. Patel, MOS for Mines (April 2011) and Dr. S.Y. Quraishi, Chief Election Commissioner of India (July 2011).

 

Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha, Smt. Meira Kumar led an Indian Parliamentary Delegation to Chile from 13-15 January 2012. The Delegation included Shri Satyavrat Chaturvedi, MP (Rajya Sabha), Shri A.K.S. Vijayan, MP (Lok Sabha), Smt. Renubala Pradhan, MP (Rajya Sabha), Shri Balakrishna Khanderao Shukla, MP (Lok Sabha), Shri Prem Das Rai, MP (Lok Sabha) and Shri T.K. Viswanathan, Secretary-General, Lok Sabha. During the visit, the Delegation held meetings with Hon`ble Mr. Rodrigo Hinzpeter, Vice President of Republic of Chile, Mr. Guido Girardi, President of the Senate of Chile and Mr. Pedro Araya Guerrero, Acting President of Chamber of Deputies. The Delegation also visited Plaza de la India, Pablo Neruda Foundation in the World Heritage City of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar.

 

Shri Sachin Pilot, MOS (Communications and Information Technology) visited Chile in April 2012 and held fruitful discussions with the Chilean dignitaries.

 

Shri Salman Khurshid, External Affairs Minister visited Chile from 5-7 February 2013. This was the first-ever Foreign Minister level visit to Chile. Shri Khurshid held a series of bilateral meetings with Chilean authorities which includes call on H.E. Mr. Andres Chadwick, Vice President, and Mr. Alfredo Moreno Charme, Foreign Minister of Chile. In Punta Arenas, Shri Khurshid attended the Foundation Stone Laying ceremony of Plaza de la India where a full size of bronze Statue of Mahatma Gandhi will be installed facing the Pacific Ocean.

 

 

Agreements

 

During the State Visit of Hon’ble President of India to Chile in April 2008, four agreements/MoUs, namely Sports, S&T, Air Services and Antarctica, were signed. Immediately, after a week, the fifth Agreement on Agriculture was also signed.

 

During the State visit of Chilean President in March 09, four agreements (MOU on cooperation in the field of New and Renewable Energy; Exchange Programme on cooperation in the field of Education; Agreement on Cooperation in the Exploration and utilization of outer Space for peaceful purposes and MOU on cooperation in the field of Geology and Mineral resources) were signed.

 

ITEC

 

ITEC has been re-introduced into Chile from 2005. Under this, India has gifted a computer laboratory at a cost of US$ 30,000 to the Republic of India School in Santiago. The Mission had started with 4 ITEC scholarships in 2005 but due to heavy demand and popularity of this programme, 7 Chileans were awarded ITEC scholarships in 2007. For the year 2008, Chile was allotted 7 slots. To meet increased demand, TC Division provided 17 slots to Chile for 2008, 30 for 2009, 25 for 2010, 25 for 2011, 35 for 2011-12, and 40 for 2012-13.

 

Trade and Economic Relations

 

Bilateral trade has grown substantially to reach record levels each way. In 2008 Chilean exports to India dropped by 21.1% to US$ 1743.61 million from US$ 2211.45 in 2007. India’s exports to Chile –which had increased by over 2000% to US$ 134 million from 1991 to 2005-, grew by an additional 26.5% to US$ 207.73 million in 2007 and by 130% to US$ 477.78 million in 2008. Indo-Chilean bilateral trade grew by 65% to US$ 2.41 billion in 2007, but dropped to US$ 2.22 billion in 2008 and to US$ 1.19 billion in 2009. In 2010, the bilateral trade was US$1.96 billion.

 

Following table gives the bilateral trade between India and Chile in million US Dollars:

 

Year

Exports from India to Chile

Imports from Chile by India

Balance

2009

278.07

908.35

-630.28

2010

380.91

1581.95

-1201.04

2011

467.03

1964.98

-1497.96

2012

658.45

2636.83

-1978.38

 

 

The above bilateral trade figures do not include India’s exports to the Free Trade Zone of Iquique, which amounted to US$ 39.2 million in 2010, US$ 42.9 million in 2011, and US$ 36.4 million from January to June, 2012; and India’s service exports, which too amount to some US$ 20 million. Six percent of the companies working in Zofri Zone in Iquique are of Indian origin.

 

High value-added Indian items such as commercial vehicles (TELCO, MAHINDRA), motor cars (TATA MOTORS, MARUTI), two wheelers, and bulk pharmaceuticals have entered the Chilean market. Other traditional Indian items being imported by Chile are garments, textiles, carpets, and hand tools. India’s imports from Chile are predominantly copper; fishmeal, newsprint, molybdenum, almonds, etc.

 

Indian Community

 

Chile has around 1500 people of Indian origin, living here. About 40 per cent of them have obtained Chilean nationality. Half of them live in the northern free port of Iquique and the rest are in Santiago and Punta Arenas. Their main occupation is trading. The number of professionals and expatriates working in sectors such as ICT, including BPO and KPO, has been increasing of late. The Indian community has been here since 1902 and has no problems with the locals.

 

February 2013

 

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