Latin America, Caribbean could work with BRICS: Cuban minister

New Delhi, May 27 (IANS) Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Eduardo Rodríguez Parrilla Monday proposed closer cooperation between the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), a bloc of 33 sovereign countries in the Americas, and BRICS, the grouping of five major economies that includes India.

Addressing a talk organised by the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) here, Parrilla – who is here on a four-day visit – said Latin America and the Caribbean region share a “lot in common” with India and the region was keen to boost trade relations with New Delhi.

“CELAC has profound interest in improving relations with BRICS countries ((Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa),” said Parrilla, adding that one of the purposes of his visit was to put forward the proposal.

He also said that CELAC and its member countries “consider relations with India as a priority with common objectives and shared challenges”.

The Latin American and Caribbean nations comprise 600 million people, which is free from wars and has abundant natural resources, energy and water resources. “We see an opportunity for mutually beneficial economic relations with India,” said the foreign minister, who is also to meet Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.

He said he has come to invite India to work with CELAC. Praising India’s expertise in IT and communications and space technology, Parrilla said this was much sought after by his region.

He said he was looking to promote cooperation between his country’s medical services and the tourism sector during his India visit.

Parrilla said Cuba, which is facing US economic sanctions for the past 50 years, has opened up its economy and was looking to boost economic ties with other countries.

Rajiv K. Bhatia, director general ICWA, in his opening address said a lot of economic changes and progress have taken place in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region.

“The LAC is fully aware of the multidimensional changes taking place in Asia and the convergence of these changes make it imperative for India and Cuba to come closer together and for India and South Asia to come closer to the Latin America and Caribbean region.”

–Indo-Asia News service

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