As part of the agenda for the Indian Leaders Programme, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Ignacio Ybáñez, received the participants at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. The meeting was marked by an interesting exchange of opinions, both regarding bilateral relations from an economic and political point of view and the impression the Programme is making on the Indian Leaders as it reaches the halfway mark.
Ignacio Ybáñez described relations between Spain and India as good but distant, and highlighted “the efforts made over the past few years to bridge this gap”. The Secretary of State said he was confident that the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Spain and India would strengthen these relations and foster collaboration on joint projects.
After the first three days of the Leaders Programme, the participants told Ignacio Ybañez that Spain’s activity in urban development and sustainability offered many opportunities for collaboration. Mr. Kunal Purohit, a correspondent for the Hindustan Times specialising in these areas, commented on the similarities between Mumbai and the old Bilbao, and remarked that it would be great if Bilbao advised the Indian city based on its post-conversion experience.
Ms. Akshima Tejas Ghate, in turn, explained the work of TheEnergy and ResourcesInsitute (TERI) as the director of the cities and sustainable transport unit and identified the areas offering opportunities for collaboration between the two countries, among which she highlighted the field of energy.
In the opinion of the Secretary of State, even though Spanish companies are investing more and more in Asia and India, the need for a physical presence in the country works against them when it comes to accessing large projects, in competition with English and French companies with a long tradition in India. As the representative of the Confederation of Indian Industry, Dr. Manvendra Deswal spoke positively about the presence of Spanish companies in his country. He specifically mentioned our patron Indra, with which the CII signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in October
to participate in the Indian Government’s 100 Smart City Vision Plan tenders.
As well as dealing with economic issues, the meeting revealed it is necessary to pay more attention to the cultural and social bonds linking the two countries. Evidence of this is the IIFA award ceremony taking place in Madrid
5th Indian Leaders Programme report.
Indian Leaders profiles.
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