Fiesta de La Tirana, Pampa del Tamarugal, Chile
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Bilateral Relations

Relations between Chile and India date back to the birth of India as an independent country. Thus, the Chilean diplomat and writer, Juan Marin, acting as special envoy of the Government of Chile to participate in the ceremony of Independence of India in August 1947, being the only Latin American representative in the celebrations. In 1949 , and now as charge d' affaires with cabinet letter, Juan Marín had the mission of establishing the first Chilean delegation, presenting his credentials on April 7 to the Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. In 1956 the Chilean delegation became Embassy and the first Chilean ambassador in India was the diplomat and writer Mr. Miguel Serrano.

Like the heads of mission and writers Juan Marin, Miguel Serrano and Julio Barrenechea did, other prominent Chilean writers likes Francisco Coloane and Augusto D' halmar have written about their experiences in India, creating a powerful image of the exotic and culturally rich India and their peaceful struggle for independence under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.

Since 1956 there has been a significant flow of official visits by authorities from both countries. The first visit to India of a Chilean Minister of Foreign Affairs was made by Mr Osvaldo Sante – Marie Soruco in April, 1957. In 1968, The Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, visited Chile. She was received by the President of the Republic of Chile, HE Eduardo Frei Montalva. This official visit demonstrated a political affinity between two governments. In that occasion, the Heads of the Governments made a joint declaration committing to mutually develop areas such as culture, trade and international cooperation.

Since the 90' there was has been a strong effort by both governments to promote political and economic relations. Thus, the Minister of Transport and Telecommunications of India, KP Unnikrishnan, visited Chile in 1990. Two years later the Minister of Agriculture of Chile visited India and, on January 13 of 1993, the first cultural agreement between both States was signed. Meanwhile, the first visit by an Indian President to Chile was made by HE Mr. Dayan Shanker Sharma. That year a Memorandum on Political consultations was signed, creating a mechanism of communication at the highest level between the authorities of both countries. Its fifth version was held on October 8, 2010 in Chile. In that occasion the Indian delegation was headed by the Ambassador Mr. Vivek Kajtu, West Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs.

One of the most important milestones in this relationship took place with the official visit of HE Ricardo Lagos in January 2005. This visit was the first official visit by a Chilean President to India. On that occasion various agreements were signed, covering a wide range of economic and agricultural issues. One was the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement through which both States expressed their intention to deepen their economic relations. In this context, the negotiations to sign a "Partial Scope Trade Agreement" began. This agreement was signed in 2006 and entered into force in 2007.

Between 14 and 20 January 2007 the Minister of Economy, Alejandro Ferreiro, visited India accompanied by a public-private delegation. On that occasion, the Minister participated as the only Latin-American speaker in the Partnership Summit XIII, business meeting organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry held in Bangalore from 17 to 18 January. During his visit the Minister and his delegation visited 12 companies in the IT sector in three cities where they could corroborate the Indian progress in this sector.

Meanwhile, since 2005 a strong cooperation between the Chilean and Indian Armed Forces started has started. Thus, in that year three Chiefs from the Chilean Armed Forces and the Chilean Minister of Defense visited India. In 2007, both countries established defenses attaches in the Diplomatic Missions of Chile and India in Nueva Delhi and Santiago. The same year Chilean and Indian authorities signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of Defense. Under this scenario of cooperation, the Chilean training ship "Esmeralda" visited the Indian ports of Cochin (September 2008) and Mumbai (2012).

Chile and India have pledged to work towards creating a strong relationship, especially in economic, trade and technological matters. In order to reach this objective, both countries have signed the following agreements:

a) Visa Waiver Agreement for Holders of Diplomatic and Official Passports (2003)

b) Partial Trade Agreement (2006)

c) Memorandum of Understanding About Sports Cooperation (2008)

d) Memorandum of Understanding About Antarctic Cooperation (2008)

e) Air Services Agreement (2008)

f) Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology (2008)

g) Memorandum of Understanding on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Matters (2008)

h) Work Plan for Technical Cooperation in Agriculture (2008)

i) Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of New and Renewable Energy (2009)

The current political relationship between India and Chile

Currently both countries have good relations in the political sphere. Chile and India share values such as respect for individual freedom and human rights, democratic values, the rule of law and tolerance. Chile shares India's views on a number of international issues, especially of developmental concern. Chile shares India's concerns over the threat of international terrorism and has regularly condemned the terrorist attack that India has suffered (Chilean Parliament strongly condemned the terrorist attack on Indian Parliament and the attacks in Mumbai on November 26, 2008).

Good relations between both countries have been reflected in the number of official visits. The visit of H.E. Mrs. Pratibha Patil to Chile in 2008 marked another milestone in the bilateral relationship. This State visit created a backdrop for intensifying ongoing linkages between countries. On the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the diplomatic relationship between both States in March, 2009, the President HE Mrs Michelle Bachelet visited India along with a high level delegation comprised by Minister, Members of Parliament, Businessman and Academics. This official visit included the cities of New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Agra. Thus, authorities of both countries signed MOU's on Cooperation in Education, the Exploration and Use of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes and Renewable Energy and Geology and Mineral Resources. In this occasion, both countries agreed to advance in the negotiations of the extension of the Partial Trade Agreement signed in 2006.

In recent years both countries have received a significant number of delegations comprising ministers, parliamentarians, government officials and businessmen. With the aim to explore new ways to increase business opportunities and investments, the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry of India, Mr. Jyotiraditya Scindia, (accompanied by an Indian business delegation) visited Chile between 6 and 8 September 2010. During January 2011, the president of the Chilean Senate, Senator Jorge Pizarro, accompanied by the senators Mr José García Ruminot and Mr Guido Guirardi, made an official visit to India with the objective to reactivate the bilateral agenda. In the same year, the Minister of State for Mining of India, Mr Dinsha Patel, visited Chile to participate in the second meeting of the bilateral working group on Geology and Mineral Resource.

During 2012, the political bilateral relationship remained active. This year began with the visit of the President of the Chilean Senate, Mr Guido Girardi, accompanied by Senators Juan Pablo Letelier and Carlos Cantero. During the month of May, the Minister of Agriculture of Chile, Mr Luis Mayol, visited India. The main aim was to find new areas of cooperation and open market for the entry of Chilean agricultural products and particularly to boost the final stages in the authorization to import Chilean blueberries and avocados to the Indian market. Also, during this year, the Chilean Minister of Foreign Affairs visited India. This visit was done within the frame of the ("pro tempore") presidency of Chile of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC in Spanish). Thus, the Chilean Minister communicated to the Indian authorities the interest to work in an ambitious agenda CELAC – India. Regarding bilateral issues, the Minister expressed the Chilean commitment to advance in the negotiations of the extension of the Partial Trade Agreement and start the negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

Finally, the year 2013 began with the visit of the Indian External Affairs Minister, Mr Salman Kurshid (5-7 February). The most important topic in this visit was the ratification of both parties to finish the negotiation process to sign an extension of the Partial Trade Agreement this year. On the other hand, the Minister of Agriculture of Chile visited India between 10 and 11 June. During 11-15 September the Minister of New and Renewable Energy visited Chile. His intensive program included meetings with the President of the Senate, Foreign Affairs Minister Alfredo Moreno, Minister of Energy and the Committee on Foreign Investment. Finally, the General Director of Foreign Policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile visited India on 1-2 November to discuss with India authorities the experience of India in the Security Council and the guidelines and principles that will guide the actions of Chile as a member of this instance (2014 – 2015).