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Remarks to Media by Vice President during visit to Panama (May 9, 2018)

May 10, 2018

  • I am delighted to be visiting Panama, one of the most beautiful countries in Central America which connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. I would like to thank the President of the Republic of Panama H.E. Mr. Juan Carlos Varela Rodrigues for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to me and my delegation.
  • This is my first official overseas visit as Vice President of India. The fact that it begins with three countries in Latin America shows the importance India attaches to its relations with the region, in particular with Panama.
  • I had very useful and meaningful discussions with the President Varela, which covered all aspects of our relations including bilateral, regional and multilateral issues. Our interactions highlighted our common values of democracy, pluralism and inclusive development. It also reflected the spirit of solidarity, cooperation and mutual respect.
  • We resolved to fight the scourge of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and agreed to strengthen cooperation in combating terrorism in international fora.
  • I am happy that Panama has included India as one of the countries for strengthening relations under its ‘Falcon Policy’. I am also happy that Panama has decided to streamline visa facilitation for Indians travelling to Panama. India has already e visa facilitations extended to all Latin American countries including Panama. We have also signed today a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Exemption of Visa for Diplomatic & Official Passports Holders.
  • This will surely impact positively on increasing our bilateral trade, tourism and people to people contact. Given the importance of our two rising economies, there is lot of scope and potential for doing more and doing better.
  • I am very happy to announce that in keeping with India's commitment to contribute tangibly to Panama's economic development, two Centres, one for Biodiversity and Drug Discovery and another for Innovation & Technology are being set up by extending Lines of Credit of US $ 10 million and US $ 15 million each.
  • Keeping in view the high values of our democracies, India is happy to also announce that the Parliamentarians of India and Panama will interact with each other under the Parliamentary Friendship Group which extends to the entire Latin American region.
  • India will be happy to extend training of Panamanians in English language also in addition to the training already imparted in various other disciplines under our flagship programme of technical cooperation, i.e. Indian Technical Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC).
  • In order to give boost to cooperation in key areas, we agreed to expedite ongoing discussions to strengthen cooperation in the fields of Exchange of Tax Information, Economic Cooperation, Maritime Cooperation, Air Services, Traditional Medicines, Culture, and Space. A Work Plan for implementing the existing MoU between the Ministry of Agriculture of India and the Ministry of Agriculture Development of Panama for Cooperation in the Field of Agricultural Research and Education has also been signed.
  • I am glad that Panama has welcomed India's proposal for setting up a Telemetry, Tracking and Tele Command (TTC) Earth station in Panama for supporting operations of geostationary communication and meteorological satellites of the Indian Space & Research Organization (ISRO), which could guide research and analysis by Panamanian experts in the fields of agriculture, meteorology, disaster management, climate change, etc.
  • I am going back with good memories not only of the country but also the outcomes from the discussions we had today which no doubt will take our relations to newer heights and higher targets.
  • I once again take this opportunity to thank The President of the Republic of Panama and his team for all the hospitality extended to me and my delegation.
Sarve Janaah Sukhino Bhavantu.
Muchas bendiciones y prosperidad al pais.

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