India: A New Ally & Economic Market for Latin America and the Caribbean?

Latin American Studies Alumnus Hari Seshasayee

Alumnus Srihari Seshasayee, Latin American Studies ‘15, presented his M.A. capstone research at an Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) conference in October.

Members of the diplomatic corps attended the conference, which focused on India-Latin America relations, and since the ICWA is the Foreign Ministry’s think tank, the presenters were also invited to the Residence of the Vice President of India.

In his presentation, Seshasayee asks whether Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), which has historically been intertwined with the United States and Europe, could look to India as a new economic market; as an ally on issues of common interest at the UN, the Bretton Woods institutions, or multilateral fora.

While some would argue China might play such a role, Seshasayee argues that India’s democratic character; private-sector engagement and investments in value-added sectors set it apart.  

Together, he explains, India and LAC form an integral part of the global economy as engines of economic growth; they provide each other the opportunity to diversify and expand to relatively new markets; and they complement each other in trade and investment.

“In commercial terms, we find an intriguing state of affairs,” Seshasayee writes. “Latin America, which has been relegated for centuries to the position of a global commodities provider, is becoming increasingly compatible with India, whose commodity demands are largely met by West Asia (for oil) and Southeast Asia (for minerals). Therefore, there remains increasing potential for India and LAC to develop a relationship that goes well beyond commodities.”

Seshasayee is currently a Project Officer for Latin America at the Confederation of Indian Industry—an association of Indian businesses that works to create and sustain an environment conducive to the development of India, partnering industry, government, and civil society, through advisory and consultative processes.

View his powerpoint presentation here.