The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, reached Santiago, Chile in the evening of March 30, 2019 – the final leg of his visit to three nations – Croatia, Bolivia and Chile.
On March 31, 2019, the President visited the Pablo Neruda Museum in Santiago. He gifted a special pen to the Museum made by the family whom Gandhiji encouraged to develop the first indigenous fountain pen in India.
On the same evening, the President addressed a gathering of Indian community and friends of India at a reception hosted by Anita Nayar, Ambassador of India to Chile. Speaking on the occasion, the President said that in “our quest for development and progress, the overseas Indian community is an invaluable partner”.
The President commenced his engagements by paying his respects at the Monumento Al Libertador General Bernardo O’ Higgins. Thereafter, he visited the ‘La Moneda’ Presidential Palace where he was received by Sebastian Pinera, the President of Chile and accorded a ceremonial welcome.
Subsequently, the President led the delegation-level talks between the two sides. Speaking on the occasion, he said that India and Chile trade relations are doing well. But the two countries can do much more. “Chile is the fifth largest trading partner of India in the Latin American region. Copper constitutes more than 85% of the imports from Chile. We must diversify our trade basket to further strengthen trade,” he said.
In a major boost to furthering bilateral ties, Chile announced that it will allow visa-free entry to Indian nationals holding a valid US Visa. The President welcomed Chile’s decision as a step that would promote both cultural and business ties.
The President also thanked Chile for its strong condemnation of the recent Pulwama Terror. The two countries agreed to work together to strengthen global response to defeat and destroy terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and hold those responsible, accountable for their brutality against humanity.
India also offered training slots to Chilean armed forces in the premier defence institutions including for courses in mountain warfare and peacekeeping. The two countries also agreed to explore opportunities for other cooperation in the defense field including jointly manufacturing defense equipment under the Make in India program.