EFELa Paz

Bolivia is negotiating with India to build the Andean nation's first pharmaceutical plant, President Evo Morales said Thursday, adding that his administration has earmarked $350 million for the project.

Morales revealed the talks during a ceremony in the central city of Cochabamba with Indian Ambassador Sandeep Chakravorty to sign an agreement for a $3.3 million donation from India to establish "a center of excellence in technology."

Bolivia turned to India for the pharmaceutical plant after domestic companies failed to present qualified proposals for the project, the president said.

"Cuba has advised us that India has a lot of experience in matters of hospitals and health," Morales said. "I want you to know that we are in the process of negotiation. We hope that India can install this pharmaceutical complex in the city of Cochabamba."

The head of state urged the ministers of Planning, Rene Orellana; Economy, Luis Arce; and Health, Ariana Campero; to expedite talks with Indian officials.

Morales said that while Bolivia is ready to make the $350 million investment, India has offered financing to build the pharmaceutical complex.

He described the partially India-funded technology center as the foundation for a future science hub.

"I was certain that India would never let down an Indian president," Morales said, alluding to his indigenous ethnicity.