EAM Jaishankar discusses situation in Indo-Pacific with his Colombian counterpart Duran
EAM S Jaishankar with his Colombian counterpart Alvaro Leyva Duran

Bogota: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met his Colombian counterpart Alvaro Leyva Duran and discussed ways to boost bilateral cooperation and exchanged views on global issues, including the situation in the Indo-Pacific region.

Jaishankar arrived here in Colombia’s capital from Panama on Wednesday. He is the first external affairs minister to have visited Colombia.

“Met Foreign Minister @AlvaroLeyva of Colombia this morning. Exchanged views on expanding our bilateral cooperation, especially in health, agriculture and digital domains,” he tweeted about his meeting on Wednesday.

“Proposed greater exchanges and stronger collaboration, especially in capacity building. Also spoke about global issues, including the Indo-Pacific. Addressed the issue of Reformed Multilateralism,” he said.

The US, India and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific. The evolving situation in the strategic Indo-Pacific region in the wake of China’s increasing military muscle flexing has become a major talking point among leading global powers.

China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas. Beijing has also made substantial progress in militarising its man-made islands in the past few years. Beijing claims sovereignty over all of the South China Sea. But Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan have counterclaims. In the East China Sea, China has territorial disputes with Japan.

The South China Sea and the East China Sea are stated to be rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources. They are also vital to global trade. Although the US lays no claims to the disputed waters, it has challenged China’s growing territorial claims in the South China Sea by deploying warships and fighter jets to assert freedom of navigation and overflight patrols in the strategically vital region.

Jaishankar also met second vice President of the Senate of Colombia Honorio Henriquez and discussed collaboration in the health, energy and technology sectors.

“Makeinindia has many incarnations. Saw a Colombian one, sourced out of Tamil Nadu. Learnt that my Colombian counterpart also rides a Royal Enfield,” he said in another tweet.

Earlier, Jaishankar arrived in Panama from Guyana on Monday and participated in the 4th India-SICA Ministerial meeting in Panama City on Tuesday. The Central American Integration System (SICA) is an economic and political organisation of Central American countries.

During an interaction with the Indian community members in Bogota on Tuesday, he said the world today is acknowledging the changes in India and getting more ready for India.

“Started my visit to Colombia by meeting the Indian community in Bogota. Shared with them the transformation underway in India and its global implications. Underlined how the world is recognising the capabilities and contributions of a New India. Spoke of how much Modi Sarkar has done for the welfare and and confidence of Indians abroad,” he tweeted.

“India’s image in foreign countries is significantly shaped by the community. I will be engaging my Colombian counterparts tomorrow, appreciating how much they have strengthened our standing,” he said.

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On Monday, he joined President of Guyana Irfaan Ali at the commissioning of an India-made ferry which would enhance connectivity and provide mobility and economic opportunities in the country’s distant hinterlands.

Jaishankar is on a nine-day trip to Guyana, Panama, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic, his first visit as the external affairs minister to these Latin American countries and the Caribbean.

Also Read | India plans to open logistics hub for Indian companies in Panama: EAM Jaishankar

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