India-Mexico Relations
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India and Mexico have striking similarities in geo-climatic conditions, biodiversity, physiognomy and people, cultural and family values, as well as European connections of the colonial era. Both are heirs to a great civilizational heritage and contacts between them go back centuries. Legend has it that an Indian princess ‘Meera’ landed in Mexico in the 17th century and is well-known here as ‘Santa Catarina.’ Mexico was the first Latin American country to recognize India after Independence and establish diplomatic relations with India in 1950.  Mexican wheat varieties used in Indo-Mexican hybrids were the backbone of India´s Green Revolution in the sixties. 

          Among  Mexicans, there is high interest and regard for Indian culture, social values and her pluralistic democracy. India’s achievements in the economic, educational, scientific & technological fields, especially in recent years, are greatly admired. Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru, Tagore, and Mother Teresa are widely admired. Gandhiji’s statues and busts adorn some major Mexican cities: roads and several schools are also named after him. The writings of Nobel-laureate and Indophile Octavio Paz, who was Mexican Ambassador to India in the sixties, on his long experiences in India have had a profound impact in Mexico. 

Political

          The bilateral relationship has been characterized by warmth, friendship and commonality of views on a wide range of issues. Despite differences on expansion of the permanent membership of the UNSC, environment, climate and non-proliferation issues, there are no disputes in the relationship. During the cold war, Mexico and India worked closely together as members of  the UN, G-77, G-15 and G-6 (nuclear disarmament) actively championing the interests of developing countries such as in the Uruguay Round of Trade Negotiations. 

          Till mid-eighties, the two countries exchanged as many as eight visits at the level of Head of State and Government. Bilateral interaction regained momentum, particularly with the exchange of high-level visits of former President Felipe Calderon in September 2007, when the two countries established a “Privileged Partnership”, and President Pratibha Patil in April 2008. PM Manmohan Singh attended the G-20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico in June 2012. Shri Dharmendra Pradhan MOS(I/C) for P&NG (May 2015), Gen (Rtd) Shri V.K Singh MOS(External Affairs)(November 2016) and Shri Kiren Rijiju, MoS for Home Affairs(May 2017) visited Mexico recently. From the Mexican side, Mr Jose Antonio Meade Kuribreña, Foreign Minister (October 2014), Mr. Juan José Guerra Abud, Minister of Environment & Natural Resources (February 2015), Ms Claudia Ruiz Massieu, Foreign Minister (March 2016), the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Ms Maria Guadalupe Murguia Gutierrez (August 2017) and Mexican Senator and President, IPU Ms. Gabriela Cuevas Barrón (December 2018) visited India.

           The bilateral relations received a new momentum with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meetings with President Peña Nieto on the sideline of G-20 meeting at Brisbane in November 2014 and on the sidelines of UNGA at New York in September 2015 followed by his visit to Mexico City on 8th June, 2016.  During this visit, Prime Minister Modi and President Nieto agreed to work for achieving a ‘Strategic Partnership’. Both the leaders met on the sidelines of the G-20 summit held at Hamburg on July 8, 2017, during which the Indian Prime Minister invited the Mexican President to visit India. In its cultural outreach to the LAC region, India participated as the Guest of Honour country at the 46th edition of Cervantino International Festival, the biggest and most prestigious cultural festival in the region, held in in Guanajuato, Mexico in October 2018. India is also  the ‘Guest of Honour’ country in the International Book Fair Guadalajara in 2019. 

Bilateral Cooperation

          The 4th meeting of Bilateral High Level Group on Trade Investment & Economic Cooperation at the level of Commerce Secretary was held in Mexico City in July 2016. CII in partnership with MEA, UNECLAC and Government of Mexico organized the 7th edition of India-LAC Conclave on 28-29 November 2016 in the City of Guadalajara in Mexico, which was inaugurated by MOS (EA) Gen. (Retd) V.K. Singh. Meetings under established bilateral mechanisms such as the 7th bilateral Joint Commission and the 4rd Foreign Office Consultation were held in June 2017. 

          The two countries have several bilateral agreements & MOUs, including for Investment Promotion and Protection, Double Taxation Avoidance, Extradition, Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters, Air Services, S & T Co-operation, Space Cooperation, Promotion of Traditional Medicine, Tourism Promotion, Cultural Exchanges, etc. 

          Under ITEC program, 20 training slots are available to Mexican participants annually. A scholarship is also offered to Mexican diplomats for training at the FSI of the Ministry of External Affairs once in two years. The Gurudev Tagore Indian Cultural Centre has been functioning in Mexico since October 2010, teaching Yoga, classical and Bollywood dances, sitar, tabla, Indian languages Hindi and Sanskrit and Indian cooking.            

          An agreement on cultural cooperation has been in existence since 1975 and cooperation activities are carried out through four-yearly ‘Programmes of Cultural Cooperation’ under the framework of this agreement. Leading Mexican university ‘Colegio de Mexico’ and the ‘National Autonomous University of Mexico’ have important centres of Indian studies. 

Economic and Commercial

          The two-way trade during 2018  was US$ 10.155 billion (Exports US$ 5.231 billion and imports US$ 4.923 billion). [Source: Ministry of Economy of Mexico]. Amongst the Mexico’s global trade partners, India’s rank rose from 10 to 9 in a year. In 2018, Mexico has emerged as the biggest trade partner of India in Latin America and the Caribbean region and 2nd in all Americas after the USA. India’s exports comprised mainly of vehicles and auto parts, organic chemicals, aluminium products, electrical machinery & electronic equipment, products of iron and steel and gems, ceramic products and jewellery. Our imports mainly consisted of crude oil (75% of the imports), electrical goods and machinery, electronic equipment, vehicles and auto parts. India is also the third largest buyer of Mexico’s crude oil. Potential areas for bilateral trade include software and IT, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, engineering goods, renewable energy, biotechnology, auto parts and minerals. 

          One of the major reasons for rising trade is the visit of businessmen from India to Mexico. Almost 300 businessmen visit Mexico every year to participate in the biggest Expos like InterModa (Fashion sector), Expo Ferreterra and CIHAC (Construction sector), and Plastimagen (plastics sector). Besides, the hosted buyers programme of MoC has been consistently supported by sending nominations of Mexican buyers from the Embassy. Events held outside the Mexico City take the outreach effort to various states as well. 

          Investments from India in Mexico are estimated close to 3 billion USD. Most of the leading Indian companies in IT/software (TCS, Infosys, Wipro, NIIT, BirlaSoft, HCL, Aptech, Hexaware, Patni, etc.) and pharmaceutical (Hetero labs, Sun Pharma, Dr.Reddy’s Laboratories, Torrent Pharmaceuticals, etc.) sectors have set up joint ventures in Mexico taking advantage of its strategic location, large market and investment friendly policies. Major investments in the steel and mining sector have also been made by the Arcelor Mittal Group. In 2008, JK Tyres of India bought Mexican tyre company Tornel and in 2009 Uflex set up a greenfield packaging products project with an eye on the US market. Samvardhana Motherson Group has set up 15 plants all over northern and central Mexico employing over 23000 Mexicans. Pharma company Zydus commenced operations in 2013. In September 2014, Lupin acquired a pharma company in Mexico. In May 2014, Tech Mahindra has established office in Mexico City to provide IT & other related services and in 2018, added 2nd campus in Aguascalientes. Presently, over 180 Indian companies have presence in Mexico. Parle started its first manufacturing facility in western hemisphere in Mexico in 2018 and also became first India food processing company to start its business in Mexico. 

          From Mexican side, 17 major companies have presence in India. Leading Mexican companies like Nemak, Metalsa, Mexichem, Tremec, Great Foods & Beverages, RuhrPumpen, Cinepolis and Kidzania have invested in India in recent times. Mexican IT company Softtek became the first Latin American company to have a presence in India as service provider. Recently Bimbo Group made investment acquiring a major stake in Harvest Gold brand. Cinepolis has opened over 350 screens all over India penetrating into tier 2 cities as well. In total, the investment is estimated to be around 1 billion USD. 

          The HLG, which has been set up to devise ways to promote trade and investments and focus on identified areas and is co-chaired by the Commerce Secretary and his Mexican counterpart, covers tourism, chemicals, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, textiles and bio-fuels through relevant working groups and had its 4th Meeting in Mexico City in July  2016. During the HLG, the two countries decided to sign MOUs for investment promotion and for SMEs in the near future. India and Mexico also signed an Agreement on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters on 15 October 2012. In July 2013, Mexico supported India’s proposal at the Codex Alimentarius Commission to create a Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs. 

Indian Community

          The Indian community (PIOs/NRIs) in Mexico is around 10,000 with about one fifth of them in Mexico City, and the rest spread in Guadalajara, Monterrey, Cuernavaca, Queretaro, etc. The bulk is formed by IT professionals working for TCS, Infosys and WIPRO. Others comprise executives of Indian and international companies, academics and some businessmen mostly in textile and garment business. In 2016, an ‘Indian Association of Mexico (IAM)’ has been registered locally which commands good membership and support of the community. There are a few Indian restaurants in Mexico City. Indian cuisine is regarded highly and is popular. Mexico City also has a Sikh Gurudwara, as well as an ISKCON temple.

 Tourism

          Tourism between the two countries is steadily increasingIndia and Mexico do not require visa for Diplomatic and Official passport holders for three months.  Mexicans have been extended the online e-Tourist Visa facility.  In 2018, the Embassy issued around 1071 visas in addition to around 12830 visas obtained by the Mexican nationals online. Persons (of any nationality) holding valid visa of the USA, Canada or Schengen Area do not require visa to enter Mexico for tourism, transit and business purposes. Such persons are, however, required to carry adequate documents to support the purpose of their visit to Mexico.

23 September 2019


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