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Mexico and India: The Challenges Ahead

Earlier in 2020, Mexico and India were set to begin the commemoration of seventy years of diplomatic relations. Seven decades of growing and expanding mutual interests and understanding. Just in the past few years, our two countries raised the level of the relationship to a Privileged Partnership, and our goal was, and is, to pursue a Strategic Partnership in the foreseeable future.

While the COVID19 Pandemic has not been an impediment in our impulse to pursue an ever closer and richer relationship, it has reset some priorities, specially in our common goals in the international arena. Like most countries, we have been seriously affected by the sanitary emergency and also like most we are now beginning to evaluate how we should move ahead in our foreign relations. We see this as a singular opportunity for Mexico and India to strengthen our ties as we move ahead to forge an international order that will make us all more resilient to crisis like the one we are still experiencing, while pondering on the challenges that lie ahead for us.

Our bilateral relationship has been expanding and diversifying to the extent that we have become the focus of attention in our respective regions. We have achieved rapidly expanding trade and investment links between our two countries. In the past years, Mexico became Indias top trading partner in Latin America and we are the top investor from the region in India. India is now amongst the top 10 trading partners of Mexico worldwide. In 2018, our bilateral trade reached 10 billion USD, 4 times what it was in 2009. Our immediate challenge is not to loose the momentum after the pause generated by the pandemic, and push forward to continue with this upward trend.

Tourism and also been experiencing an upward and important trend, as the people to people contact is paramount to a future of shared goals and objectives. Mexico and India are heirs to ancient and rich civilizations, and our cultural partnership gives our ties depth and vision. Mexico is in the top tier of most visited countries in the world and is proud home to 35 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a figure comparable to India’s. But what is most relevant, is that in the past two years Indians have been among the top 20 visitors to Mexico, exceeding that of many European countries. Again, this is a trend that we must not let go astray as we reopen our countries and economies once the health emergency subsides.

But beyond the richness of the bilateral relationship, it is clear that both Mexico and India are called upon to be partners in the reconfiguration of the international order in the years to come. Our countries are both members of the G20, which India will be chairing in two years time. Within this influential Group, our two countries can work together to advance an international agenda that seeks to strengthen our cooperation to address questions such as the present pandemic, but also others which can not be put aside such as climate change.

Equally important is the fact that both Mexico and India will very likely become non permanent members of the United Nations Security Council for the biennium 2021-2022.

This will give us again an opportunity to work together to address the multiple questions of peace and security, which are the main subject of the Council, but also other issues of vital importance which are the responsibility of the United Nations. The future of the United Nations itself, as a credible and effective organization will be in the international agenda and our countries are committed to strengthening the multilateral system so that it avoids the mistakes of the past and that has the stature to face the challenges of the future. In a rapidly changing scenario, Mexico and India can bring experience, legitimacy and credibility to the reshaping of our international architecture.

(His Excellency Federico Salas became the Ambassador of Mexico to India last September. He is a career diplomat with 37 years of experience both in multilateral and bilateral missions). 


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