Relationship Between India and Latin America: Part 1
Spanish excites Indians, we exotify it. Latin America and the Spanish speaking part of the world intrigue us, but due to the enormous geographical distance and the linguistic barrier, the bilateral connections haven’t reached their potential.
Relationship Between India And Latin America
Both from European colonies, they were exploited by European powers for their own good, and had to fight for their independence. Both of these regions opted for socialistic outlooks after independence and had to face trouble with their economies, then they transformed after liberalization. Both of these geographical areas have made tremendous progress. Today, India is the third largest economy (PPP wise), and with a combined GDP of more than 5 trillion dollars.
New Delhi has worked tirelessly to improve relations with the United States, Europe and the Middle East. Latin American however, has been missing from this list until recently. Globalizing India today needs Spanish. With more than 400 million people speaking it and 21 countries recognizing it as their official language, Spanish today offers a whole new world for the average Indian proficient in English. From the food industry, to BPO, to Pharmaceuticals and so on, there is an immense scope for bilateral relations between the two regions. Trade with Latin America is hovering at around 50 billion dollars at the moment and more than a 100 Indian companies have invested more than 12 billion dollars. China has a bilateral trade of 264 billion dollars with Latin America and that gives a good indication about the scope of improvement. With the rising trend of Indians learning Spanish, the figures are bound to increase.
The Spanish Language In India
An average Indian who has learned Spanish now knows about the Chileans sourcing gherkin chilies from Karnataka, or the Spaniard interest in the granite from Tamil Nadu in India. The sheer amount of opportunities this opens up for businesses is immense. Multi-national companies are looking to hire professionals proficient in foreign languages. Knowing other languages than English can get you a 25 to 40% hike in salary.
Germany and France have pumped millions of dollars into promoting the language and the culture in the sub-continent, Alliance Francaise had set up shop in Pondicherry in 1889 and has over 14 centers all over the country. Similarly the Goethe Institute/ Max Mueller Bhavan have 11 centers in the country. In comparison, the Spanish Instituto Cervantes has just one center in New Delhi that opened in 2009. No scholarships are coming from Spain either due to a budget crunch.
Presence of Latin Culture in India
With over 6,000 students learning Spanish in India every year, the situation is looking up, but there’s still a huge gap in the demand and supply of professionals skilled in Spanish. Outside of commercial interest, the cultural aspects that have resonated across space are minimal. We look forward to increasing our relations with Latin America, and discover other artists than Pitbull and the richness in culture, music and art that our brown cousins from across the pond have to offer.
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