Santos, accompanied by a delegation of government officials and representatives from the Colombian business community, will begin his trip in Bombay, where he will spend three days meeting with Indian companies who have already invested in Colombia.
The minister aims to “invite other Indian economic groups to start doing business in Colombia,” according to the Colombian embassy in India.
The vice president will also travel to Bangalore and New Delhi as part of his tour.
In New Delhi, the capital of the country with a population of over a billion people, Santos will meet with his counterpart, Indian Vice President Mohamed Ansari, “to review the state of relations between the two countries,” which have experienced an “unprecedented rise” in recent years.
It is expected that Santos and Ansari will sign a memorandum of understanding aimed at facilitating trade and investment.
Trade between India and Colombia reached $1 billion in 2009, a substantial increase compared with the $350 million value of trade in 2007.
There are currently 26 Indian companies investing into Colombia, compared with just five in previous years. The investments are in sectors such as petroleum, carbon, information technologies, bio-pharmaceuticals, plastics, and infrastructure.
Colombia imports mainly motorcycles, industrial equipment, textiles, chemical products, medicine, and service technologies from India, and exports petroleum, carbon, sugar, nickel, emeralds, and chemical products.
Colombia’s increased trade with India forms part of its economic initiative to diversify trading partners, after Venezuela, formerly their main trading partner, severed trade relations following diplomatic disputes between Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Colombia, who has yet to negotiate a free trade agreement with India, could work directly with European Union based companies in order to increase their trade to India, according to the chamber president Maria Fernanda Campo.