New Delhi, Jun 15 (EFE).- The Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jose Manuel Albares, began his first official visit to India on Wednesday, where he will meet his Indian counterpart, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, to strengthen bilateral ties at a time of global instability.
The meeting between Albares and Jaishankar will take place at a luxury hotel in New Delhi, where they will deal with “bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest,” according to a statement by the Indian foreign ministry.
In addition, India and Spain hope to “further deepen” in areas such as defense, trade, science and technology, innovation, climate and culture.
In this regard, the ministers are expected to sign a joint declaration on cultural and academic cooperation.
Albares will also utilize his one-day official trip to the Indian capital to visit the new consular section building to meet the high demand for visas from Indian citizens to travel to Spain.
The agenda of the Spanish minister will conclude in the afternoon with a meeting with businessmen from some of the 280 Spanish companies that are currently in India.
Bilateral trade in goods between Spain and India was around 5.57 billion euros ($5.8 billion) in 2019, with 1.3 billion euros worth of Spanish exports compared to 4.2 billion of imports, according to official data.
In 2020, due to the pandemic, bilateral trade fell to around 4.4 billion euros, while in 2021 the exchange rose again to 5.7 billion euros, with a negative balance of 2.7 billion euros for Spain.
Spain mainly exports machines and mechanical appliances, and organic chemical prodicts, while importing chemicals, clothing, iron and steel foundries and machinery.
This visit to India by a Spanish foreign minister comes after being postponed on several occasions, first due to restrictions over the coronavirus pandemic and later because of the war in Ukraine following the Russian invasion.
This war has placed India in an ambivalent position on the international stage, for it is a clear partner of the West in trade or while putting pressure on Beijing, but on the other hand it maintains its links with Moscow intact.
India has been neutral since the beginning of the Russian invasion, refraining from condemning the aggression at the UN, a position is a result of its high dependence of Russia, from which it procures around 70 percent of its military equipment.
Moreover, the Asian country has stepped up crude oil imports from Russia rise despite international sanctions. EFE