Christopher Columbus’s landmark journey to discover a shorter and more profitable trade route to India was sponsored by Queen Isabella of Spain. Columbus got his calculations wrong, but five centuries later Spain and India pledged to replicate his enterprising spirit to double trade and investment between them.
“We have had very good political relations… Now, Spain has to conquer India,” Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero told President Pratibha Patil as she inched towards the last leg of her visit to Madrid.
Zapatero’s reference was to the renewed interest within Spain towards India in its search for new markets for its products and investment. Spain has invested nearly euro 100 billion in other countries, while its investment in India is a meagre euro 306 million.
“I see clear synergies between our two countries,” Patil said, while addressing a summit of business leaders from India and Spain.
Ashwani Kumar, Minister of State for Commerce, said India inked three agreements with Madrid to benefit from Spain’s expertise in tourism, agriculture and renewable energy that will provide the framework for this new chapter of cooperation.
Spain is world’s second most visited country, has an efficient agriculture sector that accounts for one-sixth of its exports, has the world’s second largest installed capacity of wind energy and is the third largest producer of solar energy.