In 2019, India and Bolivia signed an MoU for the industrial production of lithium, a prime component used for powering EVs & electronic gadgets.
India and Bolivia discussed a long-term partnership in the highly-competitive lithium and battery sector during the visit of the minister for state for external affairs, Meenakshi Lekhi to the South American nation on Friday.
The iconic salt flats of Bolivia house the world’s largest lithium resources but there is almost no industrial production. The country has lithium reserves at 21 million tonnes, as per the US Geological Survey.
In 2019, New Delhi and La Paz signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development and industrial production of lithium, a prime component used for powering electric vehicles (EVs), mobile phones and other range of electronic gadgets.
During the visit of then President Ram Nath Kovind to Bolivia, both countries had agreed to forge a mutually-beneficial partnership for facilitating Bolivian supplies of lithium carbonate to India and fostering joint ventures for lithium battery/cell production plants in India.
Lekhi’s visit was the first by any high-level Indian authority since 2019 to Bolivia, the country known to have one-fourth of the global lithium reserves.
According to the ministry of external affairs (MEA), Lekhi and Bolivian foreign minister Rogelio Mayta discussed a range of matters with a focus on long-term partnership in the lithium and battery sector, cooperation in metals and minerals, health & pharmaceuticals, traditional systems of medicine, Space, development cooperation & capacity building.
The ministry said they also discussed the promotion of trade and business, energy, infrastructure development in railways, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and ease of business travel.
“It was agreed to take action on various matters to enhance bilateral engagement further and achieve desired results,” the statement said.
The minister also interacted with Bolivian vice foreign minister Erwin Freddy Mamani Machaca, and invited Bolivian nationals to make use of capacity-building support extended by India through the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC), Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service (SSIFS) and other Specialised Centres of Excellence.
During her meetings with senior Bolivian officials, the minister also exchanged views on global issues and developments of mutual interest, including reformed multilateralism and climate change.
“The visit of MoS to Bolivia demonstrates the importance India attaches to its relations with the Andean country and reaffirms commitment to further deepen engagement,” said the MEA.
India is among the top four global trading partners of Bolivia.