For Indians, Argentina stands for the ‘banana kick’ soccer magician Diego Maradona or yesteryears’ tennis player Gabriela Sabatini, who’s mesmerising dusky looks made Indians to watch Tennis in her playing years in 90s; but for S. Jaishankar, India’s External Affairs Minister, Argentina is the first south American country where India opened its embassy way back in 1949, a strategic friend in the south American continent and an important bilateral trade in many areas of commerce.
India- Argentina held Foreign Ministerial-level talks on Covid-19 challenges, pharma trade, mining, defence, nuclear and space issues on Friday, in which Jaishankar and Santiago Cafiero, the Argentinian Foreign Minister, discussed bilateral cooperation from commerce to international multilateral forums.
“With the Republic of India, we work to enhance technological cooperation and Lithium investments.In dialogue with your canceller @DrSJaishankar, reiterated our support for the proposal for the temporary suspension of patents for vaccines and medicines for Covid-19,” Cafiero tweeted, after having a virtual conversation with his Indian counterpart on Friday.
There have been exchanges at the highest level between the two countries. The last state visit from Argentina to India was by President Mauricio Macri in February 2019. Earlier, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner paid a state visit in 2009. From India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Buenos Aires to attend the G20 summit in November 2018.
The India-Argentina bilateral trade registered a historic peak of $3.31 billion in 2020, with a growth rate of 11.5 per cent increase compared to 2019, with $801 million worth exports from India to Argentina and $2.51 billion worth imports by India from Argentina.
As per Directorate General of Foreign Trade, India-Argentina bilateral trade for the fiscal year 2020-21 was $3.31 billion, with India’s exports to Argentina valued at $687.84 million and Argentina’s exports to India valued at $2.62 billion.
Major items of India’s exports to Argentina include petroleum oil, agro chemicals, yarn-fabric-made ups, organic chemicals, bulk drugs and two-wheelers whereas the major items of India’s imports from Argentina include vegetable oils (soya bean and sunflower), finished leather, cereals, residual chemicals and allied products and pulses.