[Bolivia], Mar 29 (ANI): President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday (local time) arrived in Bolivia on the second leg of his three nations tour, and was welcomed by Bolivian President Evo Morales Ayma and Foreign Minister Diego Pary Rodriguez at Viru Viru International Airport.
According to a statement issued by Bolivia's Ministry of External Relations, President Kovind, upon arrival, said: "I have the honour of making the first state visit to Bolivia. Today is a historic day in bilateral relations. "
"I hope to hold my meetings with President Morales tomorrow. I am confident that relations between India and Bolivia will grow, "the President added while addressing media at the Airport.
The arrival of President Kovind in Bolivia marks the beginning of a new historical chapter in the bilateral relations between the two countries, the statement noted.
President Kovind, accompanied by his wife, Savita Kovind and a delegation of around 100 ministerial officials, inspected the Guard of Honour during a ceremonial welcome at the airport. He was also presented with the key of the city of Santa Cruz.
"I am very happy to be in the beautiful land of Bolivia. A country rich in traditions and diversity, with people proud of their country," the President noted.
President Kovind, along with his Bolivian counterpart, is expected to address strategic issues such as lithium, Bioceanic Railway Corridor, technology, health, and others, said a statement released by India's Ministry of External Affairs.
During his three day visit to Bolivia, the President will hold delegation level talks with his counterpart. He will participate in India-Bolivia business forum meeting and also interact with the students at the University in Santa Cruz.
"India and Bolivia are ancient civilizations with rich and varied cultures. Our bilateral relations are warm and friendly, underpinned with abundant goodwill and the desire to forge closer cooperation in areas of mutual interest. Our interactions between the two countries so far have been at ministerial levels or at meetings on the sidelines of regional and multilateral events," the statement read.
"Bolivia is a landlocked country, it is rich in mineral resources. It has large deposits of lithium, gold, silver and gas reserves. Bolivia's lithium and our needs for eMobility and eStorage provides natural synergies. A delegation of companies had visited and has had discussions with Bolivian companies and we also see that as Bolivia would embark on industrialisation of its resources, India could be a partner that could provide know-how technology and skills. Some of our companies are already in Bolivia largely in sectors of IT and even in vehicles we have companies, who are in like, TATA motors, Bajaj Auto, Mahindra & Mahindra, they have business links in Bolivia," the statement added.
"India has emerged as a major export destination for Bolivia and Bolivia is India's ninth largest trading partner in Latin America and the Caribbean region. Indian imports are USD 667 million and our exports are $105 million. Our main exports are vehicles and pharmaceutical products. We also provide capacity building support to prepare Bolivia and slots even in IT as well as training of diplomats," the statement noted.
President Kovind is currently on is three-nation visit to Croatia, Bolivia, and Chile from March 25 to April 4. He will be in Bolivia from March 28 to March 30.
Following this, President Kovind will be visiting Chile on March 30, marking 70 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
President Kovind earlier held talks with his Croatian counterpart, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, following which four Memoranda of Understanding were signed between India and Croatia, in the fields of tourism, education, sports, to name a few. Kovind also interacted with the Indian diaspora in Croatia on Tuesday.
On the sidelines of his state visit to Croatia, President Kovind also met President of Latvia, Raimonds Vcjonis, in Zagreb and discussed issues of mutual interest. (ANI)