Saturday, July 14, 2012

India asks Cuba to simplify visa process

13 Jul, 2012, 07.31PM IST, PTI

India asks Cuba to simplify visa process

NEW DELHI: With an aim to increase economic ties with Cuba, India today
asked the Caribbean island country to increase cooperation in energy and
mining sectors besides simplifying visa process for Indian professionals.

Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Jyotiraditya Scindia, who
was leding a business delegation to Cuba, said the economic
complementarities between the countries, if exploited properly, would
enable manifold growth in trade relations.

"Scindia mentioned that energy and mining are the two sectors where
Indian companies can participate in Cuba through investment in
exploration, production, refining and marketing," an official statement

During his meeting with Cuban acting Minister of Foreign Relations
Marcelino Medino, Scindia asked to increase cooperation in sectors like
pharmaceuticals, tourism, IT, renewable energy and sugar.

"The Cuban Minister was also requested by Scindia to facilitate and
expedite the request of ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) for extension of their
contract in Cuba which is expiring in September 2012, simplification of
visa process to avoid undue delay and multiple longer duration business
visa and support for India's candidature for the chairmanship of
International Civil Aviation Organisation," it added.

The Cuban government said the OVL's request is in under consideration
and a decision in this regard is expected shortly.

In another meeting with the Cuban External Trade and Investment Minister
Rodrigo Malmierca, both sides expressed disappointment at the low level
of annual bilateral trade which stood at $ 40 million.

"It is way below the true potential," it said. Scindia also conveyed
India's willingness to provide know-how and equity in setting up of a
refinery on the Cuba's western coast.

"He also offered support in setting up railway and airport projects in
Cuba as Indian companies have acquired considerable experience in these
areas," the statement said.

The minister said both the sides can also collaborate in automobile
sector and India can supply buses for facilitating urban transport in Cuba.

The Cuban Minister suggested for joint research in pharma and
biotechnology sector by establishing institutional arrangements.

"The Cuban side sought Indian expertise and knowhow for exploitation of
critical minerals such as nickel, cobalt and tungsten available in
Cuba," it added.

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