India, Spain sign cooperation deals

23rd April 2009, Comments 0 comments

Under the new agreements, the third largest economy in Asia will have greater access to Spanish expertise in fields of renewable energy, agriculture and tourism.

MADRID – India and Spain Wednesday signed cooperation agreements in the fields of renewable energy, tourism and agriculture that will give Asia's third largest economy greater access to Spanish technology and expertise.

The deals were signed in the presence of visiting Indian President Pratibha Patil and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who held talks on the global financial crisis, cooperation in the fight against terrorism and trade relations, Zapatero's office said.

"Following the meeting three memorandums of understanding were signed in the fields of renewable energy, agricultural cooperation and tourism," it said in a statement.

Spain is a world leader in the field of renewable energy through companies such as Iberdrola and Gamesa, a major producer of wind farms.

Patil told Spanish business leaders earlier Wednesday that energy "is a vital sector" for India.

"As we strive to meet our energy needs, we want to reduce our dependence on traditional sources of energy and increase the share of clean, new and renewable energy sources," she said. "In this endeavour we are desirous of benefiting from Spain's experience."

She also hailed Spain, the world's second largest holiday destination after France, as a "world leader" in the tourism sector.

"We would like to benefit from Spain's capabilities and experiences in all segments of the tourism industry, including construction and operation of hotels, cruises, maintenance and management of heritage sites," she said.

The Spanish government said Wednesday's tourism accord was "aimed at encouraging the tourist industries of both countries."

Patil said India can also "benefit from what Spain has achieved in the agricultural sector."

She said India is now also "increasingly focused" on Latin America, and hoped New Delhi and Madrid, a "major influence" in that region, can "work together in exploring mutually beneficial business opportunities" there.

Bilateral trade between the two countries has grown five times since 2000 to more than USD 4.5 billion (EUR 5.8 billion) in 2008.

Patil arrived Monday on the first-ever state visit to Spain by an Indian head of state.

She is accompanied by Minister of State for Industrial Policy and Promotion Ashwani Kumra and a high-level business delegation.

She leaves Spain on Thursday for Poland.

Her European trip coincides with general elections in India, which started last week and are due to conclude on 16 May.

AFP / Expatica

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