About Us India - Bolivia

Embassy of India



Brief on India-Bolivia Bilateral Relations 

India and Bolivia enjoy friendly and cordial relations. The bilateral exchanges, trade and investment are modest but the potential for increasing mutually beneficial cooperation is substantial. There is a desire on both sides to improve the level of engagement and forge partnerships in sectors like lithium, mining, infrastructure development, health & pharmaceuticals, traditional systems of medicine, Information Technology, Space, capacity building and development cooperation. The two countries are exploring commercial tie-ups for supply of Bolivia’s lithium carbonate and production of lithium-ion battery products.  

2. India does not have a resident Mission in Bolivia. Our Embassy in Lima is concurrently accredited to Bolivia since April 1981. An announcement to open a resident Indian Mission in Bolivia was made during the State Visit of Hon’ble President of India to Bolivia in March 2019. There are two posts of Honorary Consuls General of India in Bolivia, of which, the Honorary Consul in La Paz was de-commissioned in June 2021. The Honorary Consul General in Santa Cruz became functional following the grant of exequatur by the Host Government. On the other hand, Bolivia opened its Embassy in New Delhi in 2012.  

Bilateral Contacts 

3.       On 20 January 2023, MOS Meenakashi Lekhi paid an official visit to Bolivia and met with Foreign Minister Rogelio Mayta and discussed various bilateral, regional and multilateral affairs. This was the first ever visit from the Ministry of External Affairs to Bolivia. MOS stressed on the importance of cooperation between India and Bolivia in the areas of health and pharmaceuticals, traditional systems of medicine, mining and lithium, railways, energy and the outstanding commercial issues between both the countries. She reiterated that India needed Bolivia to prosper with its Lithium mining industry and the bilateral relations between the countries should be based in friendship and partnership. 

4.     At an outreach event organized by host Brazil during the BRICS Summit in July 2014, PM along with other BRICS leaders interacted with the Presidents of South American countries, including Bolivia. However, there was no separate bilateral meeting between PM and the then President Evo Morales. PM was deeply impressed by the economic success of Latin America and articulated India’s approach to the region in his speech “I also look forward to a much more intensive level of engagement, between India and South America, in the coming years, across all domains of cooperation”. 

5. Shri Ram Nath Kovind, Hon’ble Rashtrapatiji paid the first-ever State Visit (by a VVIP from either country) to Bolivia (Santa Cruz) from 28-30 March 2019. Eight bilateral Agreements/MoUs were signed covering geology & mineral resources, space, setting up of a Centre of Excellence in Information and Communication Technologies (CENETIC), traditional systems of medicine & homeopathy, bi-oceanic railway corridor, CEP, diplomatic training and visa exemption for diplomatic & official passport holders. Bolivia also signed the Framework Agreement of International Solar Alliance. Hon’ble President was personally received by President Morales on arrival in Santa Cruz, conferred the highest civilian award of Bolivia and also given the key of Santa Cruz city.  Rashtrapatiji’s programme also included a business forum, a community event, a lecture on Mahatma Gandhi and naming of an auditorium after Mahatma Gandhi at the Gabriel Rene Moreno University, Santa Cruz. A line of credit (LoC) of US$100 million was announced for developmental projects of interest to Bolivia and annual allocation of ITEC slots was doubled. It was announced that two busts of Mahatma Gandhi would be gifted to Bolivia for installation in the cities of La Paz and Santa Cruz. 

6. At a bilateral meeting with the then Foreign Minister Diego Pary Rodriguez on 26 September 2018 in New York on the sidelines of 73rd UNGA, EAM expressed gratitude to Bolivia, in particular to President Evo Morales for an instant decision to extend unwavering support to re-election of Justice Dalveer Bhandari to ICJ. EAM had extended invitation to FM Pary to visit India, which he accepted to undertake in the first quarter of 2019. EAM urged Bolivia to facilitate business visa in order to enhance bilateral trade.  FM Pary expressed hope that India would consider opening a Resident Mission in Bolivia soon, as it would further enhance bilateral cooperation. 

7. EAM held a bilateral meeting with Foreign Minister Rogelio Mayta on 5 August 2021 in Tehran. During the meeting, EAM noted that his sense of bilateral relationship was “positive” and that both countries have “good comfortable relations”, sharing similar positions on many issues in the international arena. He mentioned that India’s commitment to the global south and south-south cooperation has grown stronger under the leadership of PM Modi. The relationship between the two countries has not only grown bilaterally, but also multilaterally as Bolivia signed the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Framework Agreement in 2019. He mentioned about India’s role in supporting countries on natural disasters and in developing their disaster resilience. Further, he expressed India’s readiness to cooperate in sectors like IT, Pharmaceuticals and transportation with Bolivia. Both Foreign Ministers expressed desire to work together in CoP26. FM Mayta expressed his Government’s readiness to “rejuvenate and continue engagement on mutual issues”. He assured cooperation with India on areas such as pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, extraction of lithium & other mineral resources, cultural cooperation, traditional systems of medicine etc. He also mentioned about the “India-Bolivia Centre of Excellence in Information Communication Technology (ICT)”. 

8. EAM and FM Mayta met on 21 September 2022 in New York on the sidelines of the 77th UNGA. Referring to US$100 million LoC offered by India, EAM emphasised the need to complete negotiations to start bilateral projects. EAM sought Bolivia’s support to India’s candidature for UNSC non-permanent seat for 2028-29. EAM invited FM Mayta to visit India soon and the latter expressed the hope to undertake the visit.

9. FM Mayta requested India’s support on issues related to climate change and called India like-minded in raising this issue at multilateral fora. While agreeing with him on raising the issue of climate change, EAM recalled that both in COP21 and COP26, India had raised the issues of climate action and climate justice. He said that due to the immediate concerns on energy, food and finance owing to the Ukraine conflict, there was a serious danger that the very important issue of climate change may get neglected. Both Ministers agreed that geopolitical tensions were delaying action on climate change. EAM flagged that the interests of global south on food and energy security were being neglected and in the last three years, the north-south divide has grown, whose expressions are found in unequal vaccine distribution and now the unequal impact of food and energy crisis. They agreed on building network between developing countries to raise issues of common concern, especially on climate change and food and energy crisis.

10. Shri Rajen Gohain, MOS for Railways paid an official visit to Bolivia on 20-21 April 2018. This was the first Ministerial visit from India to Bolivia. MOS met Foreign Minister on 21 April 2018 and discussed bilateral issues, including Foreign Minister’s visit to India, possibility of a visit by President Morales, opportunities for cooperation in various sectors including railways, pharmaceuticals, mining, energy, IT, etc. and resolution of outstanding issues. Shri Gohain also had a comprehensive interaction with a group of Vice Ministers of Foreign Trade & Integration, Electricity & Energy and Public Works & Housing as well as Directors General from other Ministries on 20th April 2018. Minister’s engagements included a visit to Mi Teleferico - cable car system and an interaction with Indian community representatives in La Paz. 

11. Bolivian Vice-Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation Veronica Collado attended the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention held in New Delhi from 29 September - 2 October 2018.  Director General of the State Agency of Medicines and Technologies in Health (AGEMED) and Executive Director of the Sate procurement agency CEASS visited India from 21-23 September 2022 to participate in iPHEX (the International Exhibition for Pharma and Healthcare).  

12. Other bilateral Ministerial contacts have largely been on the sidelines of meetings of international organizations. MOS(C&I) met Bolivian Vice President in May 2000 on the margins of the Mercosur Economic Summit in Rio. Vice Foreign Minister Mr. Pablo Guzman visited India in September 2009 to participate in the information meeting on Doha Round of Negotiations and met with Commerce and Industry Minister. Mr. Rene Orellana, Minister for Development Planning visited India in March 2016 for discussions on a possible Indian credit line. He met with MOS (EA) and Railway Minister. Defence Minister Reymi Ferreira participated in Defexpo in March 2016. Special Secretary (AMS & CPV) Shri R. Swaminathan visited Bolivia for Foreign Office Consultations in November 2014. Shri Ashok Das, JS(LAC) visited Bolivia on June 24-25, 2016. Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha could not participate in the 12th Summit of Women Speakers of Parliament held in Bolivia in April 2018 due to unavoidable exigencies of work. The visit of the then Bolivian Foreign Minister Huanacuni to India scheduled for May 2018 was cancelled at the last minute due to a special cabinet meeting convened by President Morales.  Dr. V.K. Saraswat, Member, NITI Aayog led a five-member delegation to Bolivia from 10-13 October 2019.  During the visit, the delegation held comprehensive technical discussions at the Bolivian Ministry of Energy with Vice Minister of High Energy Technologies Luis Alberto Echazú Alvarado, Managing Director of State-owned YLB Corporation (Yacimientos de Litio Boliviano- Bolivian Lithium Deposits) Juan Carlos Montenegro and related experts.

Economic and Commercial 

13. The trade between India and Bolivia is modest but growing, and there is scope for improvement. In the Financial Year 2021-22, the two-way trade grew by 74.75% to US$2,190.49 million with India’s exports valued at US$117.95 million (+25%) and imports at US$2,072.54 million (+78.80%). According to the Bolivian official figures, the bilateral trade reached US$2,076.89 million in 2021 after recording a 130.2% growth, while India’s exports grew by 22.5% to US$226.98 million. India became the largest export destination for Bolivia with exports valued at US$1849.92 million (exports to its second destination, Brazil were US$1,426 million). Further, India remained the fourth largest global trading partner for Bolivia and 7th largest source of imports. From January to September 2022, the trade grew by 46% to 1,919 million, with India’s exports at 170 million (29%) and imports at 1,749 million (48%). India’s exports include automobiles, pharmaceuticals, organic and inorganic chemicals, machinery, rubber & plastic products, metal products, textiles & fibers, iron & steel, etc. Bolivian exports mainly include gold, fertilizers, metal & mineral scrap, leather and wood.  

14. Investment and Indian Companies: Currently there are no Indian investments in Bolivia. The only Indian investment by Jindal Steel & Power Limited to develop El Mutun iron ore mine and steel plant was terminated in July 2012 due to differences with the Bolivian partner ESM, a Government company. Tech Mahindra has a presence in Bolivia providing software integration and solutions to telecom firms, banks and retail chains. TATA Motors, Bajaj Auto, Hero Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra have local dealerships in Bolivia. Ashok Leyland attempted to develop business in Bolivia by identifying a local dealership but could not make headway. The United Phosphorus Limited (UPL) had an office in Santa Cruz but now it relocated to another country in the region. A bilateral Chamber of Commerce in Bolivia, known as CABINCO, exists at Santa Cruz. It remains less active because of small membership.  

15. A multi sector business delegation visited Bolivia on the occasion of State Visit of Rashtrapatiji in March 2019 and attended a Business Forum in Santa Cruz. A 28-member Pharmexcil delegation visited La Paz on 26-27 August 2019 for BSM and interacted with authorities and potential business partners.  The outcome of the BSM was positive.  The visit of the delegation was to fulfil the commitment made during the VVIP visit. A number of online business sessions have been held since March 2020 to promote trade and cooperation in different sectors of potential. An 80-member business Delegation representing 62 Indian pharma companies led by Pharmexcil visited Santa Cruz on 4-5 August 2022. A business conference and over 600 B2B meetings were held during the visit. The inaugural session was attended by the authorities of Ministries of Health and Foreign Affairs. The Bolivian State health providers, procurement agencies, regulators, pharmacies and companies were invited to forge beneficial tie-ups with the Indian pharma companies.

 Areas of Cooperation

20. Lithium industry: Bolivia has huge lithium reserves but industrial scale production has not started yet. The country is currently able to produce 550 tonnes of lithium carbonate in a year from pilot plants. In 2019, Bolivian Government invited India to be their partner in lithium sector. Energy Ministry and State-owned YLB Corporation expressed willingness to supply lithium carbonate to India and sought a proposal from Indian industry for creation of a joint venture company with YLB Corporation for cathode material and battery manufacturing in India. A three-member KABIL team visited Bolivia from 3-5 February 2019 to explore opportunities. Bolivia is looking at India as a market for its lithium carbonate and a big future market for Lithium batteries. Indian companies need to project their desire/requirement to YLB and Energy Ministry of Bolivia to establish partnership and then negotiate its terms. 

21. Dr. V.K. Saraswat, Member, NITI Aayog led a five-member delegation to Bolivia from 10-13 October 2019.  During the visit, the delegation held comprehensive technical discussions at the Bolivian Ministry of Energy and State-owned YLB Corporation and visited YLB plants and evaporation ponds at Salar de Uyuni. The Government of President Luis Arce resumed activities to develop lithium sector towards the end of 2020. Bolivia is presently concentrated on developing lithium exploration and extraction at three locations - Salar de Uyuni, Coi Pasa and Pastos Grandes using the Direct Lithium Extraction Technology (DLE)  with technology partners. Referring to opportunities in production of intermediate products of cathode and manufacturing of batteries, Minister of Hydrocarbons & Energy Franklin Molina Ortiz expressed their willingness to have tie-ups with State enterprises and private companies of India. The US$130 million Lithium Carbonate (Li2CO3) Plant of 15,000 tonnes production capacity, which has been under construction for last four years at Lilipi in Salar de Uyuni, is expected to commence production by mid-2023. 

22. Mineral resources:  Bolivia is rich in mineral resources, which include lithium, tin, gold, silver, copper, tungsten, antimony, iron ore, lead and zinc. However, its current policy limits foreign participation to 49%. Gold dominates Bolivia’s exports to India with a 99.74% share. India received 72% of Bolivia’s total gold exports in 2021. A Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Geology and Mineral Resources was signed on 29 March 2019. The first meeting of JWG was held on 7 April 2022 in virtual format. 

23. Health and Pharma: India is Bolivia’s top supplier of pharmaceuticals with 16% market share in 2021. India’s pharma exports were valued at US$41.51 million. Bolivia imported around 20 tons of emergency medicines from India in February 2021. India and Bolivia have been negotiating a draft text of MoU on Cooperation between the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) and the State Agency of Medicines and Technologies in Health (AGEMED) in the field of Medical products Regulation. Bolivia is keen on India’s cooperation in setting up of a pharmaceutical complex. Bolivia’s plans to develop health infrastructure, including 49 new hospitals at an investment of US$1.73 billion by 2025 is an opportunity for Indian pharma and medical devices industry.  

24. Traditional Systems of Medicine: Both countries have inherited traditional systems of medicine and can complement each other for a greater public benefit. An MoU on Cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy was signed on 29 March 2019. Ayush Ministry held virtually the first meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) with the Health & Sports Ministry of Bolivia on 12 October 2021. Bolivian side was advised to present a proposal on scientific study to evaluate medicinal value of coca leaves, if they so desired. Ministry of Ayush has proposed 16 or 17 February 2023 for convening the 2nd JWG meeting.  Bolivian Ministry of Health and the regulatory agency AGEMED participated in the webinar on Ayush products organized in association with the Ministry of Ayush on 12 August 2022. 

25. Space Cooperation: ISRO and Bolivian Space Agency (ABE) have been in discussions on cooperation in the space sector. A two member technical delegation from ABE, visited ISRO from 4-7 June 2017. Possible cooperation on Bolivia’s second communication satellite TKSAT-2 project, remote sensing and training of Bolivian space engineers have been identified during the visit. Bolivia has even offered India cooperation in the establishment of a tracking station in Bolivia to monitor Indian satellites. ABE wanted ISRO’s participation as consultant for TKSAT-2 project.  However, ISRO was not in favour of this as this would preclude us from participation in the tender to build the satellite. The TAKSAT-2 project has been shelved temporarily owing to economic hardship created by the pandemic. An MoU was signed between ISRO and ABE on Cooperation in the exploration and the use of outer space for peaceful purposes during the State Visit of Hon’ble President in March 2019.  Two officials of ABE attended UNNATI – nano satellite training programme from 15 October to 15 December 2019 at ISRO, Bangalore, India. Both sides had subsequently shared the Points of Contact (POCs). The first meeting of JWG was held on 15 September 2020. 

26. Bi-Oceanic Railway Project: The Bi-oceanic Railway Integration Corridor would link Brazilian port Santos with Peruvian port Ilo through Bolivia. The Bolivian Minister of Development Planning Rene Orellana in his meeting with Railway Minister during the former’s visit to India in March 2016 had invited India’s investment in the proposed consortium for implementation of the Bi-Oceanic railway project. Bolivian side informed MOS(Railways) in April 2018 that alignment, preliminary design, technical, environmental, traffic and market feasibility studies have been completed. The project is estimated to cost US$7.35 billion for developing railway line in Peru and Bolivia. Bolivian Government welcomed India´s participation in the project. An MoU on Cooperation regarding Bi-Oceanic Railway Integration Corridor Project was signed between the two countries during the State Visit of Hon’ble President in March 2019. Ministry of Railways is the nodal point on Indian side. The project remained dormant owing to political turmoil in Bolivia and pandemic and is yet to be revived. The Bolivian side has been reminded of India’s capabilities to provide technical and project management consultancy in the implementation of the project.     

27. Energy: Bolivia joined International Solar Alliance (ISA) by signing the Framework Agreement during the State Visit of Hon’ble President in March 2019. The Bolivian side informed that they were in the last stage of ratification of the Agreement. Bolivia wants to enhance the share of renewables in its energy mix and has several projects planned in solar, hydro, wind, biomass and thermal energy segments. India can be a beneficial partner for Bolivia in these projects. The Bolivian side proposed cooperation in hydrocarbon sector and invited India to be their partners in developing LNG facilities, possible purchase of LNG and  construction of a gas pipeline between Bolivia and  the Peruvian port of ILO as well as exploration natural gas fields. It was discussed that OVL and GAIL could explore opportunities in Bolivia’s hydrocarbons sector. The matter was referred to Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. 

India´s Development Assistance to Bolivia

28. Bolivia is a beneficiary of India’s development assistance and is keen to make India its development partner. 60 Bolivian nationals attended the the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme. Bolivian diplomats have been attending the Professional Couse for Foreign Diplomats (PCFD) conducted by SSFSI. A number of ITEC alumni from Bolivia participated in ITEC Day celebrations. 

29. India extended humanitarian assistance to Bolivia.  In 2011, India gave a cash contribution of US $ 200,000 to Bolivia as a relief measure in the wake of floods in the north and central regions. In 2008, US $ 100,000 was provided as cash assistance in response to floods caused by La Niña phenomenon. In 2007, India had gifted medicines worth US$ 200,000 as humanitarian aid in the wake of landslides in Bolivia.

30. A project involving lighting of Tiwanaku Archaeological Site on the shores of Lake Titicaca was completed with Government of India´s assistance of US$ 31000 under the “Aid to LAC” budget. It was inaugurated by the Foreign Minister of Bolivia on 21 June 2017. Tiwanaku holds a great spiritual and historical significance for the people of Bolivia and India´s involvement in this project earned us goodwill and significant profile. A proposal for phase II of the project for installation of a solar generator is awaited from the Bolivian side. India extended support for financing a rural water management project in Beni Province of Bolivia under IBSA fund. A project of Solar lighting of Plazuela del Niño (Children’s Park) with GoI assistance of US$ 62,880 under ‘Aid to LAC’ was completed at Sucre. A project on “social innovation hubs for laboral insertion and early childcare" under the India-UNDP Fund was successfully completed from 2020 - 2022. It created infrastructure, capacity and skills, and contributed to gender equality and women empowerment. 

31. Centre of Excellence in IT: The Agreement between India and Bolivia for the establishment of a Center of Excellence in Information and Communication Technologies (CENETIC) was signed on 29 March 2019. Mission forwarded the requisite details from the Bolivian side as per the questionnaire to Ministry on 27 September 2019. In October 2021, Bolivia conveyed its readiness to comply with the Article IV (which outlines various aspects to be complied/facilitated by the Government of Bolivia) to ensure sustainability of the Centre. The Cochabamba Regional Government allocated physical premises within the complex of the Governor’s office for housing the Centre. In September 2022, the Bolivian Government was informed that the Indian side has designated the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) as the implementing agency and requested to nominate a counter-part agency. They were also informed that once the counter-part agency on Bolivian side is nominated, further steps, including a visit by a multi-agency team from India would be undertaken for field assessment of the proposed project, DPR preparation and implementation. 

32. US$100 million LoC: GoI announced a line-of-credit of US$ 100 million to Bolivia during the State Visit of Hon’ble President in March 2019.  Following political unrest and elections in Bolivia, the LoC offer letter from EAM was sent to Bolivian FM on December 30, 2020, after the new regular Government took office following 2020 general elections. A draft LoC Agreement and Terms & Conditions, as received from Exim Bank, were shared with the Bolivian Government in January 2021 for comments/confirmation. Further, a draft MoU on Establishment of Joint Commission was shared with the Bolivian side in August 2022 for their response. Their response is still awaited.

33. A medical aid-package comprising 6.2 tonnes of critical medicines, including 300,000 Hydroxychloroquine tablets and protective gear was gifted to Bolivia in August 2020 to combat Covid-19 pandemic.


34. Two busts of Mahatma Gandhi were supplied to Bolivia by ICCR. One was unveiled in La Paz on 31 August 2021. This was the first sculpture of Gandhiji to be installed in Bolivia. The other one is with the Santa Cruz Municipal Corporation for installation in the city of Santa Cruz. As a follow-up of the Cultural Exchange Programme signed in March 2019, ICCR sponsored the visit of Indian classical music group led by Apratim Mazmudar in September 2019. The troupe performed at the International Festival of Culture at Sucre and Municipal Theatre at Santa Cruz from 20-22 September 2019. A six-member Bolivian cultural troupe visited India to participate in the ICCR-sponsored Latin America Festival in November 2019. International Day of Yoga (IDY) is celebrated every year in Bolivia. IDY was held at iconic Lake Titicaca, La Paz, Santa Cruz, Sucre and Cochabamba. The celebrations of 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi were held in Bolivia with the rendition of ‘Vaishnav Jan To’ bhajan by a popular Andean Group - WARA. The Constitution Day celebrated online on 26 November 2020 with the participation of Indian community in Bolivia. Bolivian nationals have been participating in events organized as part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations.   

Consular & Community Issues

35. Bolivia issues visa on arrival to Indian tourists. Though visa on arrival facility looks simple on paper, the ground reality is that it can be risky, uncertain and time consuming. Indian business visitors had to wait for many hours (some times as many as four to six hours) at the immigration counters due to slow verification of the documents. Very often these are business executives work on tight schedules and do not have the flexibility to extend stay in a single country. Lack of communication between the immigration personnel-on duty at the ports of entry and the Government authorities at other levels is a challenge. Uncertainty in securing visa on arrival has been discouraging visitors to these countries. There were instances of Indian nationals getting stranded at Bolivian airports. MOS (Railways) raised this issue and the Bolivian side agreed to share our concerns with their Directorate of Consular Affairs to find a suitable solution. During a meeting with Bolivian Foreign Minister Diego Pary Rodriguez on 26th September 2018, EAM urged Bolivian side to facilitate business visa in order to enhance bilateral trade.

36. A Visa Exemption Agreement for diplomatic and official passports was signed during the State Visit of Hon’ble President in March 2019.  The Agreement came into force on 29 June 2019. India has extended e-Visa facility to Bolivians with effect from 5th August 2015. Indian community in Bolivia, including PIOs, is around 50. Indian community is engaged in retail trade, transportation, agriculture, service sector, etc. An India Bolivia Friendship Association called Asociasion de Amistad Bolivia India (AABI) was formed in 2017. 

Multilateral Fora

37. Bolivia shares similar views on issues of global importance such as climate change, terrorism, energy and food security, poverty alleviation etc. The country has largely been supportive of India in multilateral fora, including the expansion of the UNSC. Both sides supported each other for non-permanent seats of the UNSC – Bolivia’s candidature for 2017-18 and India’s for 2021-22.  Bolivia’s support has been sought for India’s candidature to UNSC non-permanent seat for the year 2028-29.  Bolivia supported the candidature of Judge Dalveer Bhandari in a closely contested re-election to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the period 2018-27. 


July 2023