H. E. Mr. Javier Paulinich, Ambassador of Peru in India
ANA: India relations with Peru have been cordial after the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1963. Excellency what are you impression son the status of the relations – are you satisfied with the present level of interaction?
H.E.: My perspective is that India and Peru are very similar countries. We have shared an evolution of 5,000 years, being cradle of civilization in each one of our regions. The coastal city of Caral, close to Lima, was contemporary of the Indus cultures of Harappa and Mohenjo Daro. In this context, we have seen the arisen of several native deep civilizations later mixed with external influences that have given place to multicultural and complex societies in mega-diverse territories.
So in this sense, we share a particular and special perspective of history and development, on the basis of our mutual understanding and friendship with common values and visions about democracy and international peace and security, cooperation, human interchange, open market economy and social inclusion.
Currently, Peru is the country that has been growing the most in Latin America in the last ten years with an economy open to the world in trade and investment having developed a vast Free Trade Agreements network including partners such as United States, Canada, China, European Union, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, EFTA, the South American region, Mexico, etc. We have identified multiple areas of common interest and possibilities of joint action.
In this regard, I am convinced that the bilateral relation with India, despite the latest important advancements we have developed, is still far to reach the potential it may and should have. My objective is to work hardly on that direction and to strengthen and consolidate our complementary interests each time more and in a steady path.
ANA: India is sensitive to the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. Could you explain Peru's position in the matter?
H.E.: Peru welcomes the current bilateral dialogue that is taking place between the concerned parts in order to reach to a pacific resolution on this issue. In our case, we have made use of the different means of the solution of controversies offered by international law to delimit our boundaries. For example, in 1997 a body conformed by four friendly States help us to determine our northern boundary with Ecuador. Actually, Peru and Chile have submitted a case to the International Court of Justice in The Hague in order to establish their maritime limits in the near future.
ANA: Excellency, you are aware of the India US nuclear agreement and of India's ambitions in developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Peru supports a nuclear weapons free Latin America. Do you see a conflict of interests in the positions of the two countries?
H.E.: In fact, I can say that regarding the peaceful uses on nuclear energy we share the same vision. Peru, as a matter of principle, supports the right of the States to use this energy and technology for civilian purposes under international legislation and IAEA dispositions.
Peru is part of the "Tlatelolco Treaty" (Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean) that in 1967 established the first non-nuclear weapons inhabited zone in the world and our position towards nuclear weapons is well known.
ANA: Excellency, according to statistics with us, the total bilateral trade between India and Peru in 2009-10 amounted to US$410.95 million, with India's exports to Peru of the valued of US$274.33 million while India's imports from Peru amounted to US$ 136.62 million. In your opinion, does this reflect the true potential of trade between the two countries? If not, in what areas are the two countries focusing to enhance the trade and economic partnership?
H.E.: Well, the bilateral trade during the fiscal year of 2008 reached almost US$800 million representing an increase of 625% from 2004. The numbers you are mentioning including the period of international crisis in 2009 that do not represent a normal scenario. In 2010 and 2011 our trade is recovering its normal path of growing and we expect to reach this year, according to the latest information, US$1 billion of trade exchange. Even that historic number, does not reflect the important potential we can reach.
Peru, for example, is the main mining country in the region being the top world exporter in Silver, the second in Copper and Zinc and between the third and fifth in the Tellurium, Tin, Lead and Gold. It is also between the top five exporters in the world in Molybdenum, Bismuth and Selenium with only 20% of the territory with mining potential explored.
Peru is also a leader in agro-industrial products and we are working to increase in the near future the presence of our asparagus, avocado, grapes, artichoke, citric fruits, organic products, spices, etc. The Peruvian exports to India is very diversified including textiles, fisheries, chemical and metallurgical products, etc. and we expect that the volume will continue to grow in the coming years.
For that we expect to initiate negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement with India in the near future being the one big actor missing in our international network of economic accords.
ANA: One last question on economic partnership. At a time when India is expanding its economy at an annual GDP growth of nearly 9 percent and when India businessmen are looking at new frontiers, what investment incentives does Peru offer to Indians? And in which areas do you recommend Indian businessmen to focus?
H.E.: We feel in a daily basis that the interest of the Indian investor in Peru is growing in multiple sectors. We receive constantly visits to the Embassy as well as continuous business delegations travel to my country.
Peru is one of the most liberalized countries for receiving investment and to offer them stable and favourable conditions. Peru has been granted since July 2008 the investment grade status by four credit risk rating agencies (Standard & Poors, Fitch Ratings, Moody’s and the Canadian agency Dominion Bond Rating Service).
Currently, my country ranks first in the region in terms of government receptivity to private investment owning a dynamic capital market with highly-profitable record and investment close to US$20,000 million (2009). Important Indian enterprises such Reliance Industries, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd, Tata, Mahindra Group, IFFCO, Bajaj Ltd., etc. are developing successful business in Peru.
Two weeks ago, a Peruvian delegation arrived to India to celebrate the II Round of Negotiations for a Bilateral Agreement for Promotion and Protection of Investments. We expect to reach a final text during this year and consolidate and increase the presence of Indian investors in Peru in different projects related to mining, agribusiness, infrastructure, oil and gas, renewable energy, etc.
ANA: Excellency, could we have your views on the status and potential in other areas of partnership with India? Where do you see these relations in the next 10 years?
H.E.: We want that Indian authorities and entrepreneurs find out that Peru is a country full of opportunities, with outstanding natural, mining and energy resources. Our central location on the western coast of South America makes possible the projection as a regional productive and commercial hub through the Pacific Ocean, where Peru is a member of the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC), but also to the Atlantic Ocean, through the Amazon river, that is borne in Peru, and the newly transatlantic highway that unifies Peru and Brazil.
I foresee for 2021, when Peru will celebrate two hundred years as an independent nation, a more important and complementary relationship with India in all aspects. We are currently negotiating agreements on Technology of Information, Protection on Cultural Goods, Fight against Drugs, Defence, Geology, between other, and the contacts at the private level such as Chambers of Commerce, Universities and Institutions are excellent and growing.
One important issue I should emphasize is the great potential that Peru offers in terms of tourism. Both Peru and India also share the distinction of owning one of the new seven wonders of the world, with the Inca city of Machu Picchu, that this year is celebrating a centennial of its scientific discovery, and the Taj Mahal. The Inca civilization represents the final and most impressive stage of the millenary Peruvian cultural evolution initiated, as I mentioned, with the city of Caral (3,000 bc), north of Lima, and continued for centuries by several civilizations in coast, mountain and rainforest locations such as Chavin, Mochica, Nazca, Wari, Tiahuanaco, Chimu and Chachapoyas, among others.
We offer plenty of archaeological sites, impressive colonial cities, wonderful beaches, modern services, exquisite gastronomy, spiritual destinations and a big mega-diverse country, including, the Andes mountains and the Amazon rainforest representing a unique and special destination for Indian travellers and, also, for the "Bollywood" film industry whose presence in Peru, after the filming of one musical sequence of the movie "Robot" in Machu Picchu, we are very interesting in continue.
We also count with a network of Honorary Consuls in India, in the cities of Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore representing a life presence of Peru in their respective States promoting the bilateral contacts in political, commercial and cultural aspects.
ANA: Terrorism is a global phenomenon to which no country is immune. In South and South West Asia, this has assumed serious proportions. What is the view and policy of your government on this important aspect and what message do you have for the victims of terror in India?
H.E.: As you may know, Peru was victim of this scourge, around twenty years ago, leaving as a sequel the lost of thousands of innocent lives and huge material costs.
Because of that, Peru has become an active actor in the international arena condemning all kind of terrorist acts, practices and methods, irrespective of the motifs or causes. Peru has adopted as a national priority the fully respect of the fundamental human rights and absolute cooperation in the fight against terrorism, including its participation in the main international treaties both in the international and regional spheres.
The Government of Peru has expressed its major rejection and condemnation to the acts of terror taken place in India, and in other parts of the world, and fully shares the sentiments of solidarity and cooperation for all their victims.