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Hamid Ansari embarks on visit to Peru, Cuba

October 25, 2013 11:40 IST

Hamid Ansari  on Friday left for Lima on the first-ever visit at the vice presidential level to mineral-rich Peru and Communist Cuba as part of India's thrust towards Latin America.

The 8-day official visit will also take Ansari to United Kingdom where he will deliver a public lecture at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies on the theme "Identity and Citizenship".

Several agreements including one on setting up of a joint commission and another in the area of culture are expected to be signed during the three-day visit to Peru.

The vice president will reach Lima tomorrow after an overnight halt in Frankfurt. The visit to Lima is significant given the fact that Peru is the sixth largest economy in Latin America and the fastest growing in the region.

India is seeking greater trade and investment with Peru which is rich in minerals and hydrocarbons. Bilateral trade between India and Peru in 2012 was $1.68 billion and evenly balanced.

Talks for a Free Trade Agreement with Peru are expected to start soon. India-Peru relations have traditionally been cordial and friendly and Lima is also a member of NAM and G77.

During his visit to Peru from October 26 to 29, Ansari will hold a comprehensive dialogue with his counterpart Marisol Espinoza Cruz, first vice-president of Peru, and meet with foreign minister and the minister for foreign trade & tourism. He will also call on President Ollanta Humala.

The vice-president's visit coincides with the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Peru.

He will inaugurate the Cultural Festival of India in Lima to commemorate this historic event. To mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between India and Peru earlier this year, Peru has issued stamps depicting the Machu Picchu mountains and the Taj Mahal, the wonders of the respective countries.

Despite India and Cuba enjoying deep, enduring and historical relations as founding members of NAM, Ansari's visit to Havana on October 29 and 30 is the first VVIP visit to the communist country.

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