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Spain has lot to offer in terms of defence trade: Indian ambassador Patnaik

The two countries share an increasingly important relationship through bilateral exchanges, he said, adding more and more Indian filmmakers are now exploring Spain's scenic locations

Airbus C295

Airbus C295 (Photo: ANI)

Press Trust of India Valladolid (Spain)
Indian ambassador to Spain Dinesh Patnaik has said that the European country has "a lot to offer" in terms of bilateral trade in defence, start-up and IT ecosystem, and cultural exchange.
The two countries share an increasingly important relationship through bilateral exchanges, he said, adding more and more Indian filmmakers are now exploring Spain's scenic locations, the latest being films such as Pathaan and Tu Jhoothi Main Makkar, and India is buying C295 aircraft, submarines and automotive components from Spain.
The European country, in turn, procures chemicals, mechanical, engineering and electrical equipments from India, he said.
"In the last one-and-a-half years, our trade has increased by about 30 per cent. We have a surplus of $4 billion with them. With very few countries we have such large surpluses, especially when it is non-petroleum products. But there is a lot more that can be done. This is just the tip of the iceberg," Patnaik told PTI in an interview.
Speaking on the sidelines of the recently concluded JLF Valladolid here, Patnaik said that for years Spain has been "outside the periphery of our activities" as more attention was given to the anglophone world and to Germany and France in Europe.
The two countries, he added, can benefit from each other through trade in chemicals, machine and engineering products, electrical equipment, and automotive components.
According to the Indian Embassy in Spain, bilateral trade in goods in 2022 stood at $7.92 billion, growing by 17.6 per cent over a similar period a year ago.
India's exports grew by 21.3 per cent and stood at USD 6.02 billion and imports grew by 7.3 per cent and stood at $1.9 billion.
The ease of business in India has also attracted Spanish manufacturers to relocate from Russia and China, he said.
"India will be the place with the maximum automobiles sold in the future. Our automobile capacity is very low. So a lot of these Spanish companies are relocating to India, putting in a large part of their activities. They're moving production away from China, Russia and other places, where they find it difficult, to go to India where they find it easier to do," the diplomat said.
Talking about the business opportunities from India to Spain, Patnaik noted that while there are about 100 Indian companies in Spain the number has been steadily increasing.
"A large number of Indian professionals are coming and working here, a large number of researchers, research institutes, IT companies, start-ups, many of them are moving here. We encourage all of them, we help them. We made the embassy their first stop. We have started the India Spain Chamber of Commerce which is going to be launched soon," he added.
The India-Spain bilateral ties go beyond commercial cooperation as the two countries share similar culture, food and even behavioural traits.
Talking about cultural similarities and affinity towards each other's culture, Patnaik said there has been an increasing interest among the Spanish people towards Indian activities such as yoga, films, dance and music.
"The Spanish people love Indian music and dance. Bollywood is very popular here.... There's a lot more than that, both countries have vibrant cultural industries. So we have been doing a lot in the last many years, we do Yoga Day, for example. Everywhere there are yoga schools and yoga institutes. When you do anything, culturally, music, dance, there are a lot of takers for it, Patnaik said.
He added that they encourage people to take meditation courses and take part in Indian festivals such as Holi and Diwali.
The cultural similarities, he said, make one miss home a little less.
"Half the time you feel you're in India because the people are so similar. They're family-oriented. They're loud. They argue a lot. They love food. They love colourful clothes. If you look at the rest of Europe, most of them wear black and greys, here they wear very colourful clothes. So it's a place where you feel at home.
"I mean for us, India is always home, you miss the vibrancy of India but as diplomats when you're abroad, this is the place where you miss India the least," Patnaik said.
Despite sharing a similar palate for spicy and savoury food, Indians coming to Spain find a dearth of vegetarian food options, a situation the embassy is trying to resolve, he said.
"They are like us, they like it more spicy, more 'chatpata'. We are now working on a project to map all the Indian restaurants here and to do annual food promotion to see how we can increase their visibility. To make sure people know about it and not just Indian restaurants but all vegetarian restaurants. Because I find that whenever Indians travel they look for vegetarian restaurants and there are very few places where you can find vegetarian restaurants," he said.
The international extension of Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) is held in different parts of the world, including the US and the UK.
The first edition of JLF Valladolid was organised earlier this month with an aim to become "a bridge between the diverse and vibrant literatures of Spain and India".

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Jun 23 2023 | 11:52 AM IST

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