- Her Excellency, you have been in India since 2015. How would you describe your stay in this country?
Even before I came here as the Mexican ambassador to India, I have been visiting the country for over 25 years. I like the fact that Indian people are quite similar to Mexicans – they are warm, affectionate and open hearted. I have always felt at home. The country is beautiful, and I love its multiple historic legacies and its cultural diversity. It reminds me a lot of Mexico.
My stay here has been quite productive in promoting Mexico in terms of our government-to-government relations, business-to-business relations, and the people-to-people relations, which is an important and growing relationship for us.
- One of the most important initiatives taken by any diplomat was re-designing and riding an auto for official purposes. What was your vision behind this exemplary and innovative move? What message did you hope to convey?
When I became ambassador of Mexico to India, my main aim was to promote my country among the Indian people, and at the same time connect with the Indian way of life.
I was also looking at ways to tackle the traffic and air pollution situation in Delhi. The immediate choice was the Indian auto-rickshaw, as it was compact and helped us manoeuvre through traffic jams. It runs on CNG, and is less polluting than a regular four-wheeler vehicle, thus, reducing my carbon footprint. And, because it is the vehicle of choice for so many Indians travelling daily, it enabled me to connect with them.
Mexican street-artist, Senkoe painted and recently re-painted, the auto in vibrant colours depicting the traditional flower designs found on textiles from the state of Oaxaca. This helps to convey the message to everyone in India, that like the auto, my country is a colourful, fun and innovative place. It is my way of promoting Mexico in an Indian way.
- The bilateral relations between India and Mexico have always been warm, and the trade relations have only been growing. In the wider-scheme of things, how do you currently assess Indo-Mexican relations?
Mexico was the first Latin American country to recognize India’s independence, and for over 68 years both countries have maintained cordial and friendly relations. We have a strong, active and closer relationship in economic, education, scientific and technical, cultural and political terms.
Mexico-India bilateral trade reached a new historic high of $8 billion in 2017. This was a growth of 33% from the previous year. With a presence of 12 successful Mexican companies, from various sectors, including entertainment (Cinepolis and Kidzania) and autoparts (Metalsa and Nemak), and an investment of over one billion dollars, Mexico is India’s largest investor from Latin-America, with an FDI into India of over $1,500 million USD between 2009 and 2017; and India is now among the top 10 trading partners of Mexico, with approximately 70 Indian companies, mainly from the automotive, pharma and IT sectors, established in Mexico. Mexico is the biggest market for India’s automotive industry and India’s car exports to Mexico are expected to increase by 50% yearly.
Mexico is an oil-producing country and India is our 3rd largest oil buyer. India exports more to Mexico than to other countries like Indonesia, Australia or Spain. India’s FDI into Mexico totalled over $3.5 billion USD between 1999 and 2017. In Latin America, Mexico is the second destination of Indian FDI after Brazil.
We are now working towards a process of both broadening and deepening the areas of cooperation. We aim to have a relationship of the 21st century, wherein, the populations of young Mexicans and Indians can benefit in the years to come. We are working together in multilateral affairs. To accomplish this, we view trade and investment, education, energy, technical, scientific cooperation, science and technology, and space cooperation as the flagship areas of our relations. We also continue to encourage strategic programs to stimulate investment from companies that impact in the information technology sector, as well as pharma and automotive. We are also committed to our people-to-people ties and linking our universities to have more student exchanges. We are entering into a number of MoUs with Indian universities.
As emerging economies, both our countries have unique strategic capabilities that will allow them to take advantage of the current economic climate. As the “Made in Mexico” and “Make in India” initiatives show, our countries have faced similar situations and challenges, and thus have a lot of experiences that they can share with each other. As you can see, we have barely scratched the surface of the relationship between our two countries. Mexico and India must work together in order to unlock our combined potential.
- What is your message for the readers of Diplomacy & Beyond Plus magazine?
Visit Mexico and experience for yourself why it is now the 6th most visited country in the world. You will see that Mexico is a world of its own!