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India signs four agreements with Peru to boost ties

LIMA: India has signed four agreements with Peru, including one on defence cooperation, to boost its ties with the fastest growing and resource-rich Latin American country.

The agreements were signed yesterday at the end of Vice President Hamid Ansari's three-day visit to Peru.

The two agreements are on exchange programme in the field of education and another a letter of intent for cooperation in the field of culture.

The two nations also signed an agreement to set up a joint commission to step up bilateral ties.

Peru also came out in support of India's claim for permanent membership in an expanded UN Security Council .

The two countries also asserted that terrorism cannot be justified "in any form for any cause or for any reason".

Vice President also launched the Indian Chambers of Commerce (INCHAM) that will facilitate Indian trade and industry to do business in Peru and other countries of Latin America.

The INCHAM is becoming operational at a time when Peru is rapidly becoming one of the more important trade partners for India in this region.

Ansari said that the new organisation promises to fill what has so far been a vacuum in India-Peru commercial and economic relations.

The official website of INCHAM was also launched.

The two sides showed a great deal of interest in reaching a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

In a joint statement yesterday, the two countries underlined that a bilateral Free Trade agreement will have a "positive impact" on increasing prosperity and wellbeing of the people of two countries.

"The Peruvian side welcomed Indian initiative of undertaking a comprehensive study on this important subject that will have far reaching implications for both the countries," the statement added.

Peru is the world's largest producer of silver, second-largest producer of copper and zinc and fifth largest producer of gold. It has an estimated 15 TCF (Trillion Cubic Feet) of recoverable gas reserves.