Chilean President Michelle Bachelet has said that her country can be a hub for Indian businesses and extended support to India's bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
Speaking after a brief meeting with her Indian counterpart Pratibha Patil Monday at the palace of La Moneda, Bachelet said: "Chile can be a platform for India in Latin America as we have all the necessary required infrastructure for operating business in this continent."
Bachelet, the first elected woman president of Latin America, added: "We support reforms in the UN Security Council and on behalf of Chile express full support to India for permanent membership in the Security Council."
Patil, on a three-day visit to Chile, noted that "common commitment to inclusive economic development through pluralistic democratic governance" made both countries "natural partners".
"Our bilateral trade is growing well and there are many more opportunities to diversify our trade and investment basket. Given the strong credentials of both our economies and the growing outreach of our business houses, the time is now opportune for a substantial intensification of our economic engagement," she said.
The Indian president said the two governments were in the process of finalising agreements on bilateral investment protection and promotion and also on avoidance of double taxation.
"A better awareness of each other's capabilities will enable us to discover cost-effective alternative supply sources to meet our requirements," she said.
India and Chile have signed an Air Services agreement, under which both countries grant rights for establishing scheduled international air services to each other's territory.
According to officials, there would be code sharing between Chilean Airlines LAN and an Indian carrier - either the state owned Air India or any private airline to begin with.
An agreement on cooperation in science and technology will help define areas of collaboration in the fields of innovation, research and development between Chile and India.
This would include visits and exchanges of experts, seminars and workshops in different areas of science and technology and human resources training.
India's Non-Conventional Energy Minister Vilas Muttemwar and Chilean Foreign Minister Alejandro Foxley signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote research concerning the protection of the Antarctic environment and dependent and associated ecosystems.
India and Chile also signed a MoU on sports cooperation. The agreement includes exchange of experts, government officials, coaches and athletes apart from exchange of curriculum material on sports and joint publication of material.
Indo-Asian News Service