Mexico was the first Latin American country to recognise India after its independence, and both established diplomatic relations in 1950. Mexicans, in general, have high interest and regard for Indian culture, political resilience, social values, and particular admiration for India’s economic, education, scientific and technological achievements of the recent years. Indian heroes like Gandhi, Nehru, Tagore, and Mother Teresa are widely held in high esteem by the people of Mexico.
The writings of Nobel-laureate and Indophile Octavio Paz, Mexico’s envoy to India in the sixties, with his long years in India, have significantly impacted Mexico’s view of India. Paz wrote in his celebrated work In Light of Asia, “I understand what it means to be an Indian, because I am Mexican.”
It is well known that the Mexican wheat variety ‘Sonora’ was instrumental in India’s Green Revolution. It was on the research stations and farmers’ fields in Mexico that the famous agricultural scientist and Padma Vibhushan awardee Norman E. Borlaug had developed successive generations of wheat varieties with exceedingly high potential. By mid-1960s, he took his high-yielding ‘Mexican wheat’ to India and the rest is history.
India-Mexico relations have been friendly, warm and cordial. These are characterised by mutual understanding and growing bilateral trade and all-round cooperation. Both countries have striking similarities and commonalities – of geography, history, physiognomy, culture and civilisation, even of attitudes, mindsets and values of the people. Both countries are large emerging economies, with similar socio-economic development priorities and constraints, and have democratic, secular, and pluralistic systems, as well as convergent worldviews.
Both the countries are at somewhat comparable levels of economic and technological development, and are members of the important G20. During the period of Cold War, Mexico and India worked together closely as members of the UN, G-77, G-15 and G-6, and actively championed the interests of developing countries. The two also have striking similarities in geo-climatic conditions, biodiversity, physiognomy and people, cultural and family values.
India-Mexico relations are in a healthy state today. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s brief visit to Mexico in June 2016 laid the blueprint for a strategic partnership, which has materialised now. The bilateral trade has surpassed $10 billion, with Mexico emerging as the biggest trading partner of India in Latin America. Big-ticket companies of both the countries have a stake in the relationship. Increased investment flows, growth in tourism, cooperation in science and technology, space, aerospace, energy, environment and digital innovation are all indicators of a healthy relationship.
But there is no place for complacence. According to Rajiv Bhatia, India’s former ambassador to Mexico, both countries have to achieve much more. As fellow non-permanent members of the UN Security Council for the period 2021-22 as well as pro-active members of G20, India and Mexico need to intensify their mutual dialogue and cooperation on how to overcome the current weakening and impasse in the multilateral system.
Although located on different sides of the globe, culturally, the two countries share more in common than expected.
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