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Agriculture, energy and technology on Argentine president's agenda during India visit
It may be Mauricio Macri's first visit to India, but the Argentine president has met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at least three times in the past year. Macri's visit, said Daniel Chuburu, Argentina's ambassador to India, is intended to raise the bilateral relationship between India and Argentina in three key areas - agriculture, energy (fossil fuel and renewable), mining and high technology in areas like space. Speaking to TOI, Chuburu said, "We want to step up the quality of the relationship. We need better quality, more strategic relationship". The two countries have a number of common interests that they want to advance, he said. "We're looking for a strategic relationship." After 70 years of strong political relationship, the envoy said the focus this time would be on improving the economic and technology relationship.
Macri's official engagements will be on Monday when he will meet PM Modi and be hosted at a banquet by President Ram Nath Kovind. In a significant development, Argentina and India will hold their first nuclear talks by a joint nuclear group in Mumbai this week. "We would like to partner with India on peaceful uses of nuclear energy," he said. Argentina played an important role in trying to get India into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) before the process was thwarted by China.
Chuburu said Argentina also wanted to partner with India on nano satellites, and in space technology, "particularly in the area of building satellites".
Energy is a new area of cooperation between Argentina and India. This includes both fossil fuels and renewable, the envoy said. India and Argentina plan to work together on shale oil and shale gas projects inside Argentina. As a result of the meeting between PM Modi and Macri in November 2018, an Indian consortium has been in Argentina to explore mining of lithium and copper, both vital for India's future energy security - lithium is important for solar power projects, and copper for India's electrification project. "The Indian consortium is exploring the procurement of lithium," Chuburu said.
Agriculture is an area that interests India at present. Chuburu said Argentina was willing to share technologies for improved productivity as well as leasing land for agriculture. "Land is absolutely free," he said.