The Elephant and the Jaguar: Whither Indo-Latin America Relations?
Much has been made of China’s growing presence in the Western Hemisphere. Yet, in the course of the past decade India has become a valued partner of Latin America as well. From 2000 to 2010, Latin America’s diplomatic missions in New Delhi increased from 12 to 18, and India’s in Latin America from 7 to 14. Trade, worth $20 billion in 2010, is growing fast, as is Indian investment in the region. Indian IT companies have been in the lead, but companies in other sectors, from oil to pharmaceuticals, are not far behind.
Like China, India has an interest in raw materials and energy to fuel its industrial development. The largest Indian investment in the region--$2 billion—is in Bolivia, in the minerals and energy sectors; and Indian oil, steel, and sugar companies are expanding their investments in Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, and Cuba, among other countries.
As the IDB has indicated, the big difference is that Indian investments in Latin America also take place in sectors with more value-added—information technology, pharmaceuticals, to name a few.
Political relations are also becoming more dense: over the last decade, Latin America’s diplomatic missions in New Delhi increased from 12 to 18, and India’s in Latin America from 7 to 14.
What are the implications of this for Latin America and the Western Hemisphere more generally? What is the significance of the relationship in economic as well as political terms?