Aiming to further strengthen ties with the Latin American countries, President Pratibha Patil on Saturday embarked on maiden visit to Brazil, Mexico and Chile during which she would address Parliaments, sign two agreements and interact with the business communities.
Patil was seen off at the airport by Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, his senior Cabinet colleagues, chiefs of the three services and top bureaucrats.
The 13-day visit is in response to invitations from the Presidents of the three friendly countries.
Besides holding meetings with her counterparts, Patil would be addressing Parliaments in Brazil and Mexico, interacting with members of judiciary, Indian community and attending business meetings. An Indian business delegation is accompanying the President to the three countries.
Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) V Mutemwar is also accompanying the President on her first foreign visit after she assumed charge in July last year.
The fact that Patil has chosen to pay her first state visit to Latin America is reflective of the importance India attaches to further strengthening its partnership with countries of the dynamic continent, Secretary (West) in External Affairs Ministry Nali Suri said.
In the past, the problem of connectivity has acted as an obstacle in greater interaction between the two sides. While physical connectivity remains an impediment, trade and economic interaction is growing rapidly. This is not only because of the greater global interest and outreach of Indian public and private sector companies, but also because of the new dynamics of South-South cooperation.
India's relations with all the three countries the President is visiting have been dynamically developing over the last few years.