Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakashi Lekhi will be paying a six-day official visit to Colombia and New York from Saturday. This will be her first visit as the Minister of State.
During her visit to Colombia from 4th to 6th September, Ms Lekhi will call on the top leadership of Colombia and also hold bilateral discussions with Vice President and Foreign Minister of Colombia Ms. Marta Lucia Ramirez and exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest. She will also be interacting with leading Indian and Colombian companies and the Indian community residing in the country.
In 2019, India and Colombia celebrated 60 years of their diplomatic relations. Colombia is an important partner of India in Latin America and India’s relations with Colombia have been expanding particularly, in the economic and commercial sphere. Bilateral trade with Colombia for the year 2020-21 stood at 2.27 billion dollars, which is a significant increase from 1.85 billion dollars over 2019-20 despite disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. External Affairs Ministry said, the visit of Ms Lekhi to Colombia would provide an opportunity to review progress in the bilateral relations and further expand and strengthen this important partnership. The last Ministerial visit from India took place in October 2018, when then Minister of State for External Affairs General (retd.) V. K. Singh paid an official visit to Colombia.
During her visit to New York from 7th to 9th September, the Minister of State will represent India at the UN Security Council Ministerial Open Debate on ‘Transitions’ under the agenda item United Nations Peacekeeping Operations to be convened by the Irish Presidency on 8th of this month. She is expected to meet with senior UN leadership and interact with the Indian community in New York, in celebration of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of India’s independence.