Dammu Ravi, the MEA's joint secretary for Latin America and the Caribbean), said, “Air India plans to begin a straight twice-a-week service between India and Panama by next year. This will open up access for Indians to the entire Latin American country.
“Absence of a straight sea link is also a bottleneck in the growth of trade between the two regions, as it presently takes about 45 days for a vessel from India to reach that part of the world. Ships presently go through different transshipment ports in Europe to reach that county. If there is a direct sea lane, the time could be reduced to 30 days,” he said.
India aims to double the trade with 33 countries in Latin America from the present level of $30bn in the next five years. The Latin American nations recently formed a single trade entity, looking for increased bilateral trade and technological cooperation with India.