Nicaragua wants India involved in proposed canal

New Delhi, Aug 21 (IANS) Nicaragua is keen for Indian participation in the Nicaragua Canal project, which is expected to rival the Panama Canal, an official said Wednesday.

Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Samuel Santos Lopez, in India on an official visit Aug 19-23, wants Indian businessmen involved in the proposed $40 billion canal, foreign ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.

Lopez met his Indian counterpart External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and discussed the canal - a waterway through Nicaragua to connect the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean.

The Nicaragua Canal is expected to allow the world's largest ships through.

Home to six million people, Nicaragua, bordering Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south, is famous for two largest fresh water lakes in Central America - Lake Managua and Lake Nicaragua.

Panama lies to the south of Costa Rica.

Lopez told Khurshid that his government was expected to ready a detailed project report by 2014.

"They want the Indian business community to participate and he is meeting Indian businessmen in that context," said Akbaruddin.

Lopez also reiterated his country's support for India's candidature to a UN Security Council permanent seat.

India has provided $10 million to the Central American country for setting up two electric substations. India has also set up an IT centre in that country in 2009.

Lopez visited India in June 2008 to take part in the India-SICA (Central American Integration System) Foreign Ministers' meeting.

Nicaragua is a key member of SICA with which India has a dialogue mechanism at the foreign ministers level. Bilateral trade stands at $60 million, largely in favour of India.

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