NEW DELHI – Argentina President Mauricio Macri paid tribute on Monday to Mahatma Gandhi, known in India as the Father of the Nation, at the start of a three-day state visit.
Macri, who landed in India on Sunday, was scheduled to meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi later Monday to sign a series of agreements.
Macri and his wife, Juliana Awada, were greeted with an official ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential palace, before he, Modi and Indian President Ram Nath Kovind reviewed a military honor guard.
From the presidential palace, Macri went to the memorial site of Raj Ghat where he paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi and spread rose petals on the black marble platform marking the spot where Gandhi was cremated.
After the morning’s symbolic acts, Macri was due to attend a meeting which will be followed by the signing of several deals with Indian authorities.
In a statement on social media, Macri, who has traveled to India accompanied by a business delegation of 100 people, said he was beginning an “intense” state visit to one the world’s “most important economies.”
Macri is hoping to attract more foreign investment from one of the world’s fastest growing economies as his term in office, which has been dogged by a severe economic crisis, enters its fourth and final year.
In the statement, posted on Instagram on Sunday night, Macri said he hoped to encourage increased Indian investment in Argentina and reinforce bilateral trade across various sectors, from renewable energy to agriculture.
The two countries are celebrating 70 years of diplomatic relations.
Annual bilateral trade has been a relatively low $3 billion, with the South American nation running a surplus of $1.2 billion.
The sale of soybean oil makes up 90 percent of Argentine exports to the South Asian giant.
With a market of 1.3 billion inhabitants, India has become a very attractive country thanks to its rapid GDP growth, which is projected at 7.2 percent for the fiscal year April 2018 to March 2019.