‘We’re both vibrant nations’

GDP

Melba Pria with her official vehicle (Photo: Facebook)

Melba Pria, Ambassador of Mexico to India, concurrent to Bangladesh, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, holds two Master's degrees in Strategic Planning and Public Policy, and International Studies from Harvard University and the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education. She has held important positions such as Director General, National Indigenist Institute, headed the Special Delegation of the Ministry of Education in the state of Chiapas and Cultural Promotion at the Mexican Institute of Social Security.

In this interview with Sarah Berry, Pria talks about the evergrowing bilateral relations between India and Mexico, her unique official vehicle, her love for India and the similarities in diversities between both countries.

Excerpts:

People-to-people connect is important. How is this mirrored in the bilateral relations between Mexico and India?

Mexico and India share a long-standing relationship of mutual understanding and friendship. Besides this, the people-to-people connect is important, as this is what affects the common man the most. Moreover, there is so much to a country than what appears in the media. We try and establish this people-topeople connect through a number of projects in diverse fields.

One such field is tourism, where we have designed an informative and interactive platform. For the travel fraternity, we have introduced the 'Mexico Specialist Program'. Education is another important domain, where we encourage universities from both countries to come together and discuss synergies. I myself visit universities in India at least 6- 7 times a year. Scholarships are offered by both countries, which encourage a healthy exchange between the cultures, across different segments of study.

Your official vehicle is an auto-rickshaw, which is a surprise to many….

Yes, indeed it is. For me, this is one of the many symbols which depict India. Moreover, it is environment friendly, being run on CNG. Artist Senkoe has given the vehicle an overhaul ~ a vibrant new look. Colours, vibrancy and dynamism are symbols of both our countries, which is what I wanted to showcase.

How do you look at the current state of political and economic relations between India and Mexico?

The trade dynamics between both countries have seen an almost three-fold increase in the past 3-4 years. Oil is an important component of the trade relations. However, other sectors are fast gaining momentum. Did you know that the R&D of the chassis made for some top Indian auto companies is managed by a Mexican company? Or that 65 per cent of a famous Indian breadmaking company has been bought over by a Mexican firm?

A very dominant sector in Mexico is the pharma sector, where certification is strictly regulated. Hence, if a drug attains a certification in Mexico, it can be sold across Latin America.

Apart from this, a singlewindow clearance makes logistics for starting business in Mexico easier to deal with. In addition, Mexico has 40 trade agreements with the world enabling an easy and productive flow of monies. On a political level, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited Mexico last year and we hope to see my President visiting India during the first quarter of next year. These visits will enhance bilateral relations between both countries, I am sure.

Does Mexico support India's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers' Group?

Yes, of course, as it will be beneficial for all involved.

How does the IT industry in Mexico complement India?

You may be surprised to know that the turnover of the IT industry in Mexico is estimated to stand at approximately $20 billion, with almost every IT company one can think of based in Mexico.

Every year, 650,000 engineers qualify, of which 400,000 are IT engineers. Mexico is, in fact, the third largest exporter of IT services. What makes it even more attractive as a market is the access to the US and the compatible time zones. English is widely spoken in the country, as is Spanish. These unique features are also recognised by India.

Tata Consultancy Services has their biggest service centre based in Mexico!

How has your experience in India been?

To sum it up simply: I wake up every day with the feeling of being happy, being happy to be in India as I had requested for this posting, being happy here because every day offers a gamut of things that could be done. There are so many similarities between both countries that I never really felt or feel the culturalshock…It has just been a feeling of awe…

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