India will look to connect with resource-rich Latin America starting this week,with an expedition and two high-level visits later this month.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is supporting a unique expedition from the Arctic to Antarctic – part of India’s strategy to forge closer relations with the Latin American continent.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said,We will have to break out of the old model of government support even in the field of cultural diplomacy.
Indian missions across the continent have been asked to facilitate the journey,being undertaken by explorer Akhil Bakshi and his companion Rajendra Jain,a surgeon.
This 35,000 km overland expedition from the Arctic to Antarctic will be a four-month long expedition,which will start this week at Dead Horse Creek in the Arctic Ocean in Alaska and will pass through the USs west coast before entering Latin and South America and ending at Cape Horn,the southernmost tip of the Latin American continent.
The expedition,named Pangea One World,will pass through countries such as the US,Mexico,Guatemala,Antigua,El Salvador,Nicaragua,Panama,Ecuador and Argentina. The focus of the expedition will be climate change, said Bakshi. He added,During the journey,meetings will be held with environment scientists,meterologists,hydrographers and agronomists to study action being taken by various countries on monitoring the status of climate change and on their preparedness to meet the challenge. He will present a report to the Ministry of Environment and Forests on his findings during the expedition. On the importance of the Latin American region for India,he said,Latin America is something we need to work on. We just have not had enough bilateral visits. They have made more visits than we have and we need to reciprocate that.
Khurshid said India and Latin America have a large scope and potential to cooperate in the fields of energy and education and several other fields. There will be important visits by Indian dignitaries to the Latin American region as Vice President Hamid Ansari will be going to Peru and Colombia soon while Khurshid will be visiting Brazil for a meeting of the heads of Indian missions in the continent.