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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - Just as it was stepping up its economic offensive against China, India, through a newly-floated state-owned company, inked a pact with an Argentine firm mid-last year to jointly prospect lithium in the South American country that has the third largest reserves of the silver-white alkali metal — a crucial building block of the lithium-ion rechargeable batteries that power electric vehicles (EVs), laptops and mobile phones.

The new company, Khanij Bidesh India Ltd — incorporated in August, 2019 by three state-owned companies - NALCO, Hindustan Copper and Mineral Exploration Ltd - with a specific mandate . . .

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