India and Argentina have retained a conventional liaison which has comprised of economic, political, scientific and technological give-and-take, noticeably the Antarctic Research and Cultural Cooperation. Formal relations between the two countries were incorporated in 1949 when the Trade Commission that India had initiated in Buenos Aires in 1943 was converted into an embassy.
Both the countries have taken compelling strides in strengthening their ties by signing multiple diplomatic agreements and important Memorandums of Understandings (MoUs) to the effect. Visits of dignitaries of both countries has increased manifold and several potential joint ventures have been identified in sectors like agro-industries, oil and hydrocarbons, infrastructure and chemicals, etc.
President Cristina Fernandez visited India in October 2009, which also noted 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Ten MoUs for cooperation were signed that encompassed areas such as sports, science & technology, industrial research, hydrocarbons, trade promotion and business visas.
Recent visits included Hector Timermans’ sojourn in June, 2013. He co- chaired, the 4th India- Argentina Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) along with the External Affairs Minister. Political, economic and commercial, agriculture, science & technology, defence and cultural issues were debated. Perspectives regarding regional developments and global issues of common interest were also exchanged.
Another visit comprised of Mr. Francisco Pérez, the Governor of Mendoza Province of Argentina, who visited Gujarat and New Delhi in April, 2013. Collaboration issues were discussed that involved investment opportunities in various fields likehigher education, research, sports, academics, and MoUs were also signed for mutual partnership in four sectors.
Governor of San Luis Province of Argentina Mr. Claudio Poggi visited India in May, 2013 to inauguratethe 1 st Commercial, Cultural & Tourism Office representing the Government of San Luis Province, Argentina in Chennai.
With the launch of Argentine nano-satellite on PSLV-India in 2007, scope for technological cooperation between the countries has expanded. Ongoing cooperation also includes the Antarctic Treaty to which both are signatories, renewing the agreement in 2006.
The commercial relations of the nations have been steadily augmenting in terms of the trade turnover and investments. In 2012, the turnover of both the countries was USD 1.8 BN with main items of Indian exports included Organic Chemicals, Lubricants, Machinery and Auto parts, garments, etc. and Indian exports mainly contained Leather, Wool, Alloys, etc.
As for the investments, 13 Indian companies have established hold in Argentina providing employment to more than 5000 Argentines in sectors like IT Sector, Agro-Chemicals, Pharma, Cosmetics, etc. In 2012, a Regional Action Plan was initiated to promote Argentina’s regional economic interests in Argentina focusing on specific commercial areas. The cultural relations have been bolstered by constant cultural programmes held by Indian Embassy in Buenos Aires. There have been an entourage and following of Indian spiritual groups like Art of Living with yoga being immensely popular.
An Indian Cultural Centre has also been proposed in Buenos Aires, approved by the Government of India with a formal cultural exchange to be negotiated between the countries. India has also regularly participated in three Argentine Film Festivals while Argentina has taken part in 6 Indian Film Festivals.
Ayurveda is highly popular among the Argentine masses with Ayurvedic spas and massage centers opening all over the country. The University of Buenos Aires and the University of Cordoba are also offering professional courses in Ayurvedic Medicine.
Besides, the exchange of culture diaspora between the countries, a MoU has been operational between the universities for exchange of professors, students and semesters. Argentine think- tanks have also shown interest in exchanges with their Indian counterparts. Collaborations of Indian Football Academy with its Argentine twin were also held over the years.
With the 1968 Visa Agreement, fees for transit visa have been abolished and under the current agreement, five year multi-purpose business visas would be given without any charges. With the migration of Indian communities to Argentina increasing, the cordial and warm relations between the countries are only reported to improve and enhance.