There has been a steady growth in bilateral trade between India and Colombia

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held wide ranging discussions with Colombian Vice President and Foreign Minister Marta Lucia Ramirez de Rincón on Saturday, focusing on the health, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and space sectors.

The two sides agreed to work together to further promote trade and investment in energy, IT, pharmaceuticals and automobile sectors, said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

There has been a steady growth in bilateral trade between India and Colombia which stood at USD 2.27 billion in 2020-21, despite the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

A tweet by Jaishankar on Saturday said, “Wide ranging discussions on our expanding partnership with Colombian VP and FM @mluciaramirez. Agreed to focus more on health, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and space. Will give impetus to our trade and investment, especially energy, IT, pharma and auto sector.”

Regional and international issues of mutual interest were also discussed during the meeting.

EAM Jaishankar underlined India’s priorities with respect to UN reforms. The leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation in multilateral fora.

During the meeting, the two sides welcomed the recent momentum in high level engagements and agreed to enhance their cooperation in identified areas for mutual benefit.

Jaishankar had earlier met Ramirez on the sidelines of UNGA-76 on September 25.

The two leaders witnessed the signing of two Letters of Intent for cooperation in the fields of biotechnology and medical research.

These were signed by the Department of Biotechnology and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) with their Colombian counterparts.

On Friday, Ramirez had appreciated the efforts of India in building a robust and enabling ecosystem for biotechnology.

She had remarked that health and biotechnology sectors were major priority areas of shared interest, and expressed hope for working together towards Indo-Colombian Public Private Partnerships for building a sustainable biotechnology ecosystem.

Ramirez is leading a 48 member health and science and technology delegation to India from October 1-3.

She is accompanied by Dr. Luiz Fernando Ruiz, Minister of Health and Social Protection, government officials, representatives from business and educational institutions.

Before the arrival of VP Ramirez, a business delegation headed by Dr. Luiz Fernando Ruiz, Minister of Health and Social Protection travelled to Pune, Hyderabad and Bengaluru from 27-30 September.

They visited centres of excellence and pharmaceutical companies in these cities with the objective of exploring co-production and technology transfers in the development of vaccines and pharmaceutical products.

They also visited ISRO facilities and met representatives from New Space India Limited (NSIL) and the Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC).