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MP-IDSA and COMEXI organised a virtual Bilateral Dialogue on India-Mexico Relations in the Contemporary Era

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  • August 22, 2022

    The Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA), India and Consejo Mexicano de Asuntos Internacionales (COMEXI), Mexico held their first Virtual Bilateral Dialogue on 22 August 2022, on the theme “India-Mexico Relations in the Contemporary Era”. In the inaugural session, Ambassador Sujan R. Chinoy, Director General, MP-IDSA, and Dr. Sergio Alcocer, President, COMEXI, delivered the opening remarks, while the special remarks for the dialogue were delivered by Ambassador Pankaj Sharma, Ambassador of India to Mexico, and Ambassador Federico Salas Lotfe, Ambassador of Mexico to India. Session I titled “Regional Developments and Bilateral Relations” was chaired by Ambassador Rajiv Bhatia, Distinguished Fellow, Gateway House and Former Ambassador to Mexico. Dr. Ashok Behuria and Prof. Guadalupe González Chávez shared their thoughts on the regional developments in South Asia and Latin America respectively while Ms. Ruchita Beri and Ambassador Nathan Wolf spoke on India-Mexico Bilateral Relations.  Mr. Vladimir Vázquez Hernández, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Mexico in Honduras, chaired Session II on “Emerging Areas of Cooperation”. While Col. Vivek Chadha (Retd.) and Mr. Fausto Carbajal Glass spoke on India-Mexico security cooperation, Dr. Rajeesh Kumar and Ms. Irma Gómez Cavazos spoke on India-Mexico multilateral cooperation. In the closing session, concluding remarks were given by Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Bipin Bakshi (Retd.), Deputy Director General, MP-IDSA on behalf of MP-IDSA and Mr. Vladimir Vázquez Hernández, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Mexico in Honduras on behalf of COMEXI. The event was livestreamed on You Tube and was attended on the virtual platform by all scholars and interns of MP-IDSA, members of COMEXI, invitees from the Embassy of India in Mexico and Embassy of Mexico in India.

    Executive Summary

    The dialogue underscored the importance of India-Mexico bilateral relationships and proposed new areas of cooperation that can be further explored to strengthen their ties. Session I discussed India-Mexico bilateral relations and regional developments. It shed light on regional developments in South Asia like India’s efforts to help integrate and promote prosperity in its neighbourhood, the new regime in Kabul and its ripple effects on the region, especially Pakistan; and the evolving situation in Latin American and Caribbean nations, a historical analysis of the developments and challenges of the region juxtaposed with the current changes in the region. The session also drew attention to India-Mexico bilateral relations and the shared Indo-Mexican interest in the African continent, underlined new areas of cooperation in sectors like energy, agriculture and food processing, looking at Mexico as a gateway to Latin America and, highlighted the need for Mexico and India to unite in dealing with the challenges facing the world.  It was assessed that the climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine crisis and the resultant supply chain crisis and their consequences have permanently altered the socio-economic structures within South Asia and Latin America.

    The prospects for defence and security cooperation between India and Mexico, as well as multilateral cooperation, were both discussed during the second session of the meeting. The discussion on defence and security cooperation centered on the possibilities for India-Mexico security partnership in space, defence manufacturing, terrorism, among others. In light of the fact that both nations are non-permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC), the discussion also centered on expanding multilateral cooperation between the two.

    Detailed Report

    Inaugural Session

    Ambassador Sujan R. Chinoy, Director General, MP-IDSA and former Indian Ambassador to Mexico launched the first MP-IDSA – COMEXI Virtual Bilateral Dialogue, extending his warm welcome to the panellists for the inaugural session, other attendees, and participants for the evening. Furthermore, he expressed his hope to have a physical meeting in the foreseeable future while expressing his gratitude to Ambassador Federico Salas Lotfe and Ambassador Pankaj Sharma for agreeing to deliver the special remarks. Ambassador Chinoy as part of his opening remarks noted the centuries-old ties between India and Mexico, including the links between Mayans and South India and the flouring trade Mexico has shared with countries in the Indo-Pacific region. He underlined how India-Mexico ties are representative of mutual understanding, all-around cooperation, high-level meetings, and privileged partnerships that have provided an impetus to bilateral cooperation in the contemporary era. Moreover, the recent exchange of visits by the foreign ministers and sixth round of Foreign Office Consultations have further consolidated bilateral ties. Over the years, new avenues of cooperation between Mexico and India have emerged in crop monitoring, drought assessments, and capacity building between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Agencia Espacial Mexicana (Mexican Space Agency).He further touched on emerging geopolitical developments and conflicts and, India and Mexico’s role as emerging or middle-powers in the rapidly-evolving world order. He also underscored how the geographical distance between the two countries does not act as an impediment, as this virtual dialogue demonstrates. On the other hand, the Ambassador, highlighting India and Mexico’s role as non-permanent members of the UNSC and in the G20, asserted how there is scope for new convergences in areas such as climate change, renewable energy, and terrorism. In the foreseeable future, India must deepen trade ties with Mexico, including in the Pacific alliance. Furthermore, he shed light on their mutual interests in Africa and how possibilities of joint projects in selective countries should be explored while establishing frequent dialogues on issues such as border management, particularly drugs and illegal arms crossing. The speaker also flagged how another area of cooperation is India’s defence sector, open to foreign investment, and Mexico’s strengths in areas such as Aerospace are of particular interest. Additionally, he mentioned how defence and naval cooperation are other areas to be explored and bolstered. Afterwards, he gave the floor to Dr. Alcocer. Dr. Sergio Alcocer, President, COMEXI, expressed his gratitude to his fellow panellists and spoke about the fruitful relationship between Mexico and India, various similarities, and room for opportunity between the two countries. He also referred to these evolving ties amid great power competition and the Ukraine conflict. He further highlighted think tanks’ role in building peace and prosperity between nations and how science, education, and technology are avenues for increased cooperation between India and Mexico. On the other hand, the speaker spoke about how regular contact should be maintained between the two countries and appreciated the quality of engineers and scientists based in India and the technological advances it has made in areas such as biotechnology and cognitive science. He also mentioned that water management is another area of cooperation, mainly because Mexico has been experiencing one of the worst droughts in the past years. His country also has a substantive interest in engaging in defence exchanges and cooperation. After thanking him for his thoughtful remarks, Ambassador Chinoy welcomed Ambassadors Sharma and Ambassador Lotfe to deliver their special remarks for the evening and expressed his gratitude for their support in conducting this bilateral dialogue.

    Ambassador Pankaj Sharma, Ambassador of India to Mexico, expressed his gratitude to those present and MP-IDSA and COMEXI for conducting this webinar. He remarked how such events help bridge the gap in understanding, analysing, reviewing the bilateral relationship, and charting the path forward. He underlined how both countries are on a similar development path and share a unified vision based on common principles. Additionally, there is a mutual resolve to elevate the privileged partnership to a strategic partnership, and its roadmap was laid during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Mexico in 2016. The speaker pointed out how India and Mexico have robust economies and are positioned to play important roles in their respective neighbourhoods. On the other hand, business and investments are critical aspects of this bilateral relationship, and in 2021, India emerged as one of Mexico’s top 10 trading partners, with bilateral trade reaching $10.1 billion.

    Moreover, he spoke about how the pharmaceutical and automobile industries are key growth areas and investments for these two countries. There is an increasing presence of Indian companies in Mexico and vice-versa, and the signing of MoUs between reputed universities, signalling growing academic exchanges, mainly regarding Ayurveda, have taken place. In 2022, eight Mexican cities celebrated International Yoga Day. Efforts are also underway to sign a bilateral investment treaty to strengthen the bilateral institutional framework. He emphasised the need for regular political dialogues between India and Mexico to help them work better within international organisations like the United Nations. Finally, the growing convergence of interests allows the two countries to strengthen international regimes collectively.Ambassador Chinoy thanked Ambassador Sharma for his remarks and expressed his hope to see India and Mexico establish enduring ties, following which he invited Ambassador Lotfe to deliver his remarks.Ambassador Federico Salas Lotfe, Ambassador of Mexico to India, expressed his appreciation to be invited to be a part of the webinar and remarked on the able leadership of Ambassador Chinoy and Dr. Alcocer, which helped bring this event to fruition. He also fondly recalled meeting with Ambassador Chinoy a few months ago regarding this event’s conduct. Moreover, he spoke about the growing relationship between Mexico and India, signs visible across all spectrums, including trade. Information and space technology, agriculture, and artificial intelligence are critical areas of cooperation between the two countries. There is also visible cooperation across multilateral and international formats to better serve both countries' interests. Therefore, in this context, more communication channels between them must open as they move forward with their ties, this webinar being an essential example and an important first step in that direction. He also reiterated Ambassador Chinoy’s call to conduct an in-person meeting soon. Ambassador Chinoy thanked Ambassador Lotfe for his kind remarks and emphasised how India-Mexico strategic partnership should be multifaceted, mainly focused on trade and economic linkages. Finally, he extended an offer to conduct an annual bilateral dialogue between MP-IDSA and COMEXI, gradually introducing other stakeholders as a part of this initiative. With these remarks, he concluded the inaugural session and gave the floor to Ambassador Bhatia, who chaired the first session.

    Session I

    The first session on “Regional Developments and Bilateral Relations” was chaired by Ambassador Rajiv Bhatia, Distinguished Fellow, Gateway House and Former Ambassador of India to Mexico. He mentioned that relations with Mexico have been developing over the past decades but are seen to be picking up pace lately. Within India, there isn’t a lot of widespread awareness about Mexico’s foreign policy and the role it plays in matters of international importance. He praised Mexico for making good strides in its foreign policy, even though critics say otherwise, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic policies and the impact of the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Indo Pacific is another shared concern for the two countries. This region holds Mexico’s interest for economic reasons and India’s for geopolitical ones.

    The chair requested the speakers to shed light on how Mexico will deal with the geopolitical dynamics unravelling in the Indo Pacific and Asian continent. How will it merge with India’s recent foreign policy? Ambassador Bhatia mentioned that for the last fifteen years, focus has been on elevating the India-Mexico privileged relationship to the level of strategic partnership. For this to take shape without any delays, the involvement of the highest political echelons is a must. The Parliament Speaker, Om Birla’s upcoming visit to Mexico reflects well of the Indian intentions. The chair highlighted the bilateral cooperation between India and Mexico, in the economic sphere and in science and technology and space. In taking relations forward, now defence and security cooperation are becoming important facets of this bilateral relationship. Concluding his initial remarks, the chair stated that cooperation between academic institutes and think tanks of the two countries should be sped up to give way for deep discussions on matters of importance and exchange of thought.

    Dr. Ashok Behuria (Senior Fellow and Coordinator, South Asia Centre, MP-IDSA) spoke on the “Recent Developments in South Asia”. He commenced by highlighting the significant role of India in the Asian sub-continent. The sheer size of its landmass, geographic location, its huge defence expenditure and the GDP reflect the importance that India holds amongst its neighbours. It’s policy of look east and act east have been ways of furthering integration in the south and south east Asian regions. These efforts could have yielded better results with cooperation from the western neighbours, which was found wanting. The pandemic has worsened economic and political conditions in many of the neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka and Myanmar. India however, has stood like a pillar of stability in the region and provided all possible non reciprocal help to its neighbours in the form of aid, assistance and vaccines. It also has a huge line of credit for Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Maldives amongst others. India also undertook US $2 billion investment in Afghanistan from 2001-2021, reflecting its efforts to work tirelessly for regional integration, growth and prosperity.

    Dr. Behuria mentioned the hindrance of Pakistan in providing India with territorial access to its north-western and central Asian neighbourhoods. During the pandemic, Afghanistan also witnessed a regime change, which has redefined the security dynamics of the Asian continent. Taliban is averse to upholding the rights of women and minorities, slipping into regressive radicalism.  This is resulting in the promotion of reactive radicalism outside of Afghanistan, amongst like-minded organisations and groups. The fashion in which the US withdrawal took place in Afghanistan has encouraged Taliban and like-minded groups to pursue their agendas with full vigor. Its ripple effects are gradually percolating outside Afghanistan and are being felt by Pakistan in their dealings with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.

    Dr. Behuria mentioned the global rise in terrorism and radicalism, with special emphasis on the Af-Pak region. There have been small scale attacks in other Asian states like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Maldives but nothing of the scale witnessed in Afghanistan. However, this opens a window of opportunity for India-Mexico cooperation over counter terrorism efforts. The speaker also mentioned the economic meltdown, triggering regime changes in Sri Lanka and Nepal and the Galwan Valley incident, where China single-handedly tried to alter the status quo at LAC. Such incidents should prompt democratic countries to join hands in discovering and innovating ways to make democratic systems less debt-ridden and cumbersome. Dr. Behuria concluded with the thought that South Asian nations need to first settle their conflicts and then work towards a larger economic integration. This will encourage mutual growth and prosperity but can only successfully materialise with full efforts from all partner countries.

    Prof. Guadalupe González Chávez, (Consultant, Columnist, El Heraldo de México, Professor, and Associate, COMEXI) spoke on the “Recent Developments in Latin America”. She elaborated analytically on the key developments unfolding in the region. Being a region full of diversity, fighting with hunger, economic de-escalation, violence and the after effects of the pandemic, its governance assumes paramount importance for Latin America. Prof. Chávez recognizes that owing to instability and low living standards in certain parts of this region, it is receptive to intra as well as inter-continental migration. Intra-regional communications and inter-state relations were in place from before the advent of Europeans.

    The speaker observed that Latin American and Caribbean nations work together as a region in UN bodies and other organisations. For them it is important to address the development of the region and stand united in their demands. There are political differences and disagreements between the countries but the ultimate goal is of global peace and development. She pointed out that public administration alone cannot promise development. There is a need for the involvement of various social, political and economic institutions and organisations within the country to bring about real development. This is what is the region is struggling with in current times.

    Prof. Chávez observed that the Latin American and Caribbean region has been subject to constant crisis and change for the past few decades, from the 1960s revolutions in Cuba and Nicaragua, which brought about social change, to the current trend of “new constitutionalism” that has rigged the region. In last three years, a lot of traditional legal constitutions have been changed, to varying degrees. The most recent example being Chile, where plebiscite is due over constitutional changes. The speaker observed that the need for large scale social change and an open digital society have been evident post pandemic in many Latin American countries. Justice and Rule of law have been discussed for the past two decades in Latin America and play a significant role in achieving regional peace and stability. However, the region is gripped with challenges in achieving political openness and organised governance. There is also absence of social justice and prevalence of human rights abuses in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala.

    Prof. Chávez pointed out the new tendency in the region to recognise social diversity, pluralism, multiculturalism and the need for social integration in the region. Non-proliferation and non-possession of nuclear weapons is a key factor which integrates and promotes cooperation amongst regional members. Peace and stability should continue to be a part of the integration process following any political or military crisis. In conclusion, the speaker mentioned Pacific alliance as yet another key platform where Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico can come together to develop significant outcomes over political, economic, academic and other arenas of cooperation. For Latin America the goal right now is to solve the integration issues and disparities, to solve the intra and inter regional problems pertaining to climate change, integration and institutionalisation of norms.

    Ms. Ruchita Beri (Senior Research Associate and Coordinator, Africa, LAC & UN Centre, MP-IDSA) spoke on “India-Mexico Bilateral Relations, Perspective from India”. She referred to the India and Mexico roadmap to upgrade their relationship to strategic partnership. To attain that, she focused on four pillars of cooperation between the two countries. First being energy cooperation, where crude oil forms a major component. India is the third largest global importer of crude, whereas Mexico is the fourth largest producer. However, Indian crude imports from Mexico are bound to decrease next year, owing to the Mexican President’s policy of energy independence which focuses inwards for reducing costly refined imports. This move may shift the focus to climate friendly renewable sources of energy. A report from Mckenzie suggests that being rich in solar, geothermal and wind energy, Mexico has the potential to assume the leadership in clean energy, hence, increasing avenues of cooperation with India. The recent statement of the Mexican President in support of transition to clean energy reinforces the hope of increased India-Mexico cooperation in alternate sources of energy.

    The second pillar is agriculture and food security. Cooperation in this sector isn’t new for the two countries. Mexican wheat variety formed the backbone of Indo-Mexican wheat during the green revolution in India in the 1960s. Both the countries share similar topography and climate conditions, making cooperation in the agro-sector more fruitful. The two countries have a wide array of cooperation possibilities in fisheries, food processing equipment, agro products, improved seed and farm equipment. The new pact inked between India and Mexico over space technology will help to get space inputs for crop monitoring, drought assessment and capacity building in agricultural sector. This gives hope to further cooperation between Indian and Mexican chambers of trade and commerce.

    The third pillar is considering Mexico as the gateway to Latin America. India’s diplomatic and trade relations with this region have been neglected in the past due to issues of political diversity, lack of adequate human resources, language barrier and poor connectivity. But now Mexico is seen as the key to connect to Latin America and Carribean states. It is a part of the Pacific alliance and Latin America is also a top destination for investments abroad. All of this makes Mexico the key to access Latin American trade routes and markets. The fourth pillar is the shared interest in the African continent. India has a historical relation with Africa but Mexico’s contact with the region is comparatively less, particularly with Sub-Saharan Africa. The economic potential of Africa is attracting more diplomatic presence from Mexico and other external powers. India has initiated triangular cooperation models in Africa with like-minded countries (Japan, US, UAE). Certain East African countries are also a part of the Indo Pacific region, increasing their significance for India. The latter may consider collaborating with Mexico in future over these geographically distant but strategically important waters, owing to their interest in the Indo Pacific.

    The speaker concluded that growing convergence at the government-to-government level between India and Mexico should give impetus to increased dialogue at the industry, think tanks, civil society and academic levels.

    Ambassador Nathan Wolf (Former Ambassador of Mexico to Singapore and Member, COMEXI) shared his thoughts on “India-Mexico Bilateral Relations, Perspective from Mexico”. He mentioned the warm and cordial relations shared between India and Mexico. He stated the transition of India-Mexico ties from a privileged partnership to a strategic partnership happened in 2016. In order to follow the roadmap as laid out by the two governments, there is a need to deepen cooperation in science and technology, space cooperation, IT, medicine, education and facilitation of trade and investments by both the countries. Ambassador Wolf highlighted the similarities of cultural relations and people to people contacts which are important for pushing ahead the strategic partnership. He also spoke of Latin America and South Asia facing similar challenges like COVID-19 pandemic, recession and economic crisis, which has permanently altered the socio, economic and political course of these regions.

    The speaker mentioned certain factors which should be taken into account to assess the well-being of citizens. A few of those are, increasing poverty and transition to a green economy. The latter is also a major component of the sustainable development goals laid out by the UN. Transition of geopolitical interests due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, technological advancements, environmental and climate changes, have brought about certain socio-political changes that have led to emergence of new assets for nations like Mexico and India. This is proving to be a critical factor in modifying the system of alliances. Changing investment environment and the borderless digital world is making companies adopt business models different from their traditional ones.

    In conclusion, Ambassador Wolf highlighted factors like climate change, cyberattacks and social inequality, which make it imperative for countries like India and Mexico to join hands in dealing with them collectively. The asymmetric global recovery from the pandemic and the resultant disruption in the critical supply chains is further delaying the economic recovery of many nations and industries. The Russia- Ukraine crisis has taken poverty, malnutrition and economic problems to another level. The international measures taken to mitigate this crisis have further dented the financial situation, increased the risk of inflation and triggered global economic slowdown. Increased migratory flows have been a classic characteristic of our crisis ridden world lately and to deal with all this successfully, India and Mexico should deepen their collaboration and cooperation.

    Q/A session: There were two questions put up from the audience regarding the Mexican President’s visit to India for the G20 summit and the absence of India being mentioned in the Mexican Government’s National Development Plan (PND), which laid down plans and objectives of interaction with Asia. Ambassador Wolf answered the questions suggesting that the Mexican President has very restricted travel plans and has undertaken only a few trips within the region, at short distances. He did not express hope over a possible change in this pattern, leading to his physical presence at India’s chairmanship of the G20 this year. For the second question, he recognised that while referring to Asia, the bias is evident in over-emphasis on China as compared to the other Asian countries. He highlighted that dialogues such as this will prove helpful in overcoming similar hurdles and expanding the horizon of relations with the Asian continent. He stated that Mexico and India should work alongside each other.

    Session II

    The second session on “Emerging Areas of Cooperation” was chaired by Mr. Vladimir Vázquez Hernández, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Mexico in Honduras. He underscored that Mexico was the first Latin American country to recognise India upon its independence and to establish diplomatic ties with it in 1950. He delineated how India has made tremendous advancements in the fields of trade and development, and how it is presently combating the pandemic with its pharmaceutical capabilities. The pandemic has also demonstrated the need of having a decentralised ecosystem for vaccine production. He invited the panelists to discuss this further and to expand on the two countries' multilateral cooperation.

    Col. Vivek Chadha (Retd.) (Research Fellow, Military Affairs Centre, MP-IDSA) discussed the possibilities of the India-Mexico security partnership, stating that there has not been enough cooperation on security related matters.  He highlighted specific areas where the two nations' security partnership had the potential to progress. The first is concerned with terrorism and radicalisation. The speaker continues by asserting that it is important to participate in a worldwide struggle against the spread of terrorism. Regulation and agreement on certain basic and broad principles can assist with it as well. In the area of the relationship between crime, money laundering, and terrorist funding, the speaker added that there is a need to go beyond traditional areas of security while planning security cooperation between governments, to include sectors engaged in the management of the financial and the private sector. 

    Defence manufacturing is another area where India and Mexico can further cooperate. One of the success stories of the 'Aatma Nirbhar' project involves the indigenous design and construction of warships for the Indian Navy and Coast Guard. Aside from naval vessels, there are other programmes underway to build drones and surveillance technology, which may be of interest to Mexico as well.

    Border management is a major challenge for both India and Mexico. Both India and Mexico encounter several obstacles along their huge coastlines. The Coast Guard's capability has grown significantly throughout the years. This features an upgraded monitoring grid that aids in greater transparency of responsibility regions.

    Col. Chadha also emphasised the need of working together to support projects for disaster relief and humanitarian aid. On a number of occasions, India has been among the first responders to aid and evacuate individuals afflicted by natural disasters and conflict zones. The security forces of both countries have extensive experience that may be provided on a reciprocal basis, to presence in courses of instruction and training academies.  The speaker's final point on the possibilities for defence and security collaboration is space cooperation, which may include security-related areas such as communications, for which India has deployed a number of satellites for its own security agencies. The chair contributed to the conversation by stating that water management will be critical in the next decades. In addition, both nations are dealing with the impacts of climate change. As a result, this issue will become even more critical, and both the Coast Guard and defence manufacturers must work together to achieve a clear understanding in the coming years.

    Mr. Fausto Carbajal Glass (Lecturer, Universidad Anáhuac Mexico and Member, COMEXI) initiated the discussion by congratulating India on the celebration of its 75th year of independence. Mr. Glass discussed potential areas of security cooperation between India and Mexico, as well as the concept of universal access to vaccines. India has come to assist Mexico in supplying vaccines during the latter's crisis. He went on to say that one of the lessons learned during the pandemic was that Mexico should strengthen its bilateral relationship with India, particularly in the field of pharmaceuticals, as well as bilateral cooperation on scientific matters and scientific research, in order to be better prepared to face similar security challenges in the future.  

    The space sector, particularly in the fields of remote sensing, satellite communications, and peaceful use of outer space, should be an expanding area of security cooperation. It is worth noting that India is a country that has developed satellites and low-cost spacecraft, and is therefore indeed a noteworthy and exceptional achievement. Cooperation between the two space agencies, in particular, would boost Mexico's satellite ability to deal with natural disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes, massive fires, and so on. It is critical to strengthen bilateral collaboration and involve joint research and innovation in the field. The speaker also discussed the future prospects of security cooperation between the two nations.

    Dr. Rajeesh Kumar (Associate Fellow, MP-IDSA) addressed India's priorities and interests in various global multilateral fora, and listed out the possible areas of multilateral cooperation between India and Mexico. Dr. Kumar noted that India's multilateral approach has evolved considerably between 1947 and 2022. In an era when rivalries dominate global politics and the relevance of multilateralism is questioned, one may consider whether India and Mexico should encourage multilateral cooperation by investigating possible areas where India and Mexico can cooperate, as well as, areas where cooperation is limited. Both nations, who are UNSC non-permanent members, seek UNSC reforms demonstrating the potential for collaboration in this area. Within the United Nations, there are issues where India and Mexico may cooperate and work together, such as global terrorism, which is a priority for both India and Mexico.

    Similarly, there are possibilities to boost multilateral cooperation between the two on peacekeeping issues.  Mexico opened a joint training center for peacekeeping operations in 2020. India has extensive expertise in this area, and the two countries might work together to exchange knowledge and resources in this field. Another multilateral platform for issues related to trade will be the World Trade Organization (WTO). The agricultural sector is the cornerstone of the present WTO discussions, and both countries are attempting to correct the anomalies in agriculture and food subsidies. Cooperation in the G-20 will be another test for both Mexico and India to see how the idea for reforms in multilateral organisations can be implemented. Dr. Kumar concluded by saying that India and Mexico need to better understand each other's political realities, capabilities, and goals. Both sides must define their priorities after realistically assessing their skills and prospects for participation in multilateral platforms.

    Ms. Irma Gómez Cavazos (Advisor, Secretaries of Equality and Inclusion, and Education of Nuevo Leon & former Undersecretary for International Cooperation and Economic) centered her thoughts on the importance of education in the future of multilateral cooperation. Technology is driving the educational system and process. There is a need to concentrate on the curriculum development process and to incorporate coding and data sciences into school curricula. India has extensive experience in these areas of technology. The MP-IDSA and COMEXI may collaborate with the embassies in both countries to increase university collaboration between the countries. She also reiterated how Mexico can act as the door to Latin America and added that education, health, and the water management system, are three main areas of cooperation between India and Mexico that need immediate attention.

    Ms. Cavazos noted that it was essential to discuss how each country's skills might be brought together on the table and find ways to have a shared agenda at multilateral cooperation organisations such as the United Nations. There is a need to begin the process of identifying themes and working on the many areas of expertise that both institutions have in order to discover methods to undertake triangular cooperation with Latin America and Africa, as well as multilateral cooperation in the international arena. In his concluding remarks, the chair mentioned solar energy technology for tackling climate change as part of the triangular cooperation.

    Closing Session

    In his closing statement, Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Bipin Bakshi (Retd.), Deputy Director General, MP-IDSA, spoke on the immense potential for India and Mexico to strengthen defence cooperation and engage in areas such as countering transnational terrorism. He went on to say that activities like this bilateral dialogue would help propel the strategic partnership announced in 2016. He further stated that MP-IDSA anticipates more similar exchanges in the future.

    In his concluding remarks on behalf of COMEXI, Mr. Vladimir Vázquez Hernández said that new global actors are emerging and that Mexico and India shall be well suited to confronting those challenges jointly in the reconfiguration of the international order.

    This report was prepared by Ms. Saman Ayesha Kidwai, Research Analyst, Counter-Terrorism Centre, MP-IDSA, Ms. Anandita Bhada, Research Analyst, Europe and Eurasia Centre, MP-IDSA and Ms. Bulbul Prakash, Intern, ALACUN Centre, MP-IDSA.