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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07NEWDELHI5139 2007-11-30 06:22:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy New Delhi
Cable title:  

INDIA MAINTAINS MODEST RELATIONS WITH CUBA

Tags:   ETRD ETTC PREL CU IN 
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1. (SBU) In response to the request for information on
India's relations with Cuba set out in ref a, Embassy New
Delhi provides the following assessment based on the most
recent and readily available information.

Indo-Cuban Relations Mostly Symbolic Legacy of NAM


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2. (C) Post is unaware of any significant efforts the GOI
has made to advance democracy, human rights and fundamental
freedoms in Cuba in the past six months. Nonetheless, India
maintains that democracy promotion is a guiding principle of
its foreign policy. Post found no information on significant
activity in support of Cuban civil society through the GOI's
diplomatic mission in Havana, or in local legislative bodies.
Post is unaware of any high-level visits between the two
countries in the past six months and believes most bilateral
diplomatic contact will take place in the context of Cuba's
continuing leadership of the Non-Aligned Movement.



3. (U) Cuba and India do have a renewable-energy cooperation
agreement, signed in 1998 and valid until 2009, to help
consolidate and integrate Cuba,s strategies for
hydroelectric, wind, thermal and solar power generation.
Cuba is the only Latin American nation to have such a pact in
India.



4. (U) India provides 50 annual scholarships to Cubans under
the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Program,
bringing government officials and other nominees to study in
the best Indian institutions specializing in rural
development, mass communications, small-scale industries,
banking, computer technology, management and various other
fields. Post is not aware of any other exchange programs
between the two countries.

Trade Rising but Still Slight


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5. (U) Official two-way trade between India and Cuba
increased from USD 15.33 million in FY 2005-2006 to USD 30.50
million in FY 2006-2007, almost all of which was Indian
exports to Cuba, but this represents only 0.01 percent of
India,s overall trade. The main exports from India to Cuba
are pharmaceuticals and chemicals, machinery and instruments,
machine tools, rubber products, and plastics and linoleum, in
the total amount of USD 29.30 million. India,s imports from
Cuba were down 64 percent to just USD 1.20 million, with
metal ores and scrap and pharmaceuticals accounting for the
bulk. While there are no available quantitative estimates of
the volume, the Indian Embassy in Cuba acknowledges that
there is substantial trade between the two countries via
third countries, especially Spain, Canada, and Panama.



6. (U) According to GOI estimates, Cuban investment in India
is minuscule at USD 1.04 million this fiscal year through
July. Two Indo-Cuban biotech joint ventures have been set up
in India. Panacea Biotech is a tie-up between Panacea of
India and Heber Biotech of Cuba for production of Hepatitis
vaccines in Punjab. Biocon Pharmaceuticals and Cuban entity
CIMAB, SA, have set up a joint venture in Bangalore for
production of monoclonal antibodies for treatment of cancer,
as well as some other health products. In both joint
ventures, Cuban participation has been solely via transfer of
technology.



7. (U) The Indian company ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) has
entered the Cuban oil-prospecting market. It signed an
international economic association agreement with Spanish
REPSOL for a 30-percent share in the deep-sea exploration of
six blocks in the Cuban sector of the Gulf of Mexico. OVL
also signed a direct deal with Cuba Petroleo for the
exploration of two more deep-sea blocks. OVL has an office
in Havana.

Effect on Indo-US Ties


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8. (C) The ongoing transformation of US-India relations has
improved our ability to engage in frank and open discussion

NEW DELHI 00005139 002.2 OF 002


with the GOI on third-country relations. Actions against
Indian entities or nationals in US courts for trafficking in
confiscated property in Cuba would certainly strike a
negative cord among the Indian public and within the GOI
leadership. While unlikely to derail the overall positive
direction of our bilateral partnership, it would set a note
of discord within the relationship. The economic
implications of such actions would likely be very minimal.

MULFORD