Can India and Argentina Harness Their ‘Untapped Potential’?

Can India and Argentina Harness Their ‘Untapped Potential’?
Argentine President Mauricio Macri and his wife Juliana Awada, left, with Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, center, his wife Savita Kovind and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in New Delhi, Feb. 18, 2019 (AP photo by Manish Swarup).

Argentine President Mauricio Macri paid a three-day visit to India last month, a sign of India’s recent efforts to deepen its links with Argentina. But while high-level engagements have increased in recent years, the two sides have mostly been unable to realize the full benefits of increased cooperation, says Ronak D. Desai, a scholar at Harvard University’s Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute. In an interview with WPR, he explains why Latin America is increasingly seen as a priority for New Delhi’s diplomatic strategy and what it will take for India to compete with its rival, China, in the region.

World Politics Review: What were the recent key developments in Indian-Argentinian relations leading up to Macri’s visit to India, and how would you evaluate the outcomes of the visit?

Ronak D. Desai: Momentum for Macri’s state visit to India had been steadily growing in the months preceding the trip, which coincided with the 70th anniversary of the two countries establishing diplomatic relations. Macri had hosted Modi during the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires just months earlier, so it is unsurprising that a reciprocal visit materialized soon thereafter. While the trip was the first visit by an Argentine president to India in more than a decade, the summit with Modi marked the fifth meeting between the two leaders in less than five years. Those numerous high-level engagements underscore India’s recent efforts to deepen its links with Latin America generally and with Argentina specifically.

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