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Cuban Foreign Minister Visits New Delhi

Cuba's foreign minister has met Indian leaders during a two-day visit to New Delhi to strengthen ties. Anjana Pasricha reports from New Delhi, the Cuban leader will also be visiting Vietnam and China as part of an Asian tour.

The Cuban foreign minister, Felipe Perez Roque, says his discussions with Indian junior foreign minister Anand Sharma and other leaders in New Delhi have strengthened the already strong ties between the two countries.

Roque says relations between the two countries are excellent from the political and diplomatic standpoint, but are just beginning to emerge on the economic front.

He is on his first visit to India.

The two countries have taken a number of initiatives to step up collaboration. India will train Cuban scientists on wind energy technology. An Indian state-owned oil company will engage in oil exploration in Cuba. Two Indian bio-technology companies have established joint ventures for manufacturing pharmaceutical products with Cuban technology.

The foreign minister says Cuba wants to see more nations from Latin America, Africa, and Asia included as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. He says Cuba supports India's inclusion as a permanent member of the powerful body.

Roque also told reporters in New Delhi that the health of Cuban President Fidel Castro is improving consistently, and he is consulted about the most strategic decisions made by the country. He says Mr. Castro will fully resume his duties when he has completed his recovery.

He says President Castro is recovering and has gained weight, and the most serious moments of his illness have been left behind.

From New Delhi, the Cuban foreign minister travels on to Vietnam and then China.