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Opinions & Interviews

3 Jun 2015

India president’s first visit to Belarus hailed as start of full-scale cooperation

MINSK, 3 June (BelTA) – The first visit of the India president to Belarus is a historical event. However, it is just the beginning of future-oriented full-scale bilateral cooperation, BelTA learned from Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei on 3 June.

Vladimir Makei pointed out that kind and friendly relations have existed between Belarus and India since the Soviet times. “Losing these relations would be a sin,” said the Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs.

“The first visit of the India president to Belarus indicates the importance that the large country attaches to our small European country. They see Belarus’ potential primarily in the sphere of the production sector, in other branches of the economy, and they are interested in cooperation with us. The president of India talked about it during today’s negotiations,” noted Vladimir Makei.

The Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs underlined that there are huge prospects in relations between the two countries. “The current level of trade — slightly more than $400 million — is the minimal one. We should greatly increase the figure within the next few years. Our presidents have reached the relevant agreement,” said Vladimir Makei.

He underlined that the Belarusian side was satisfied with the progress and results of the top-level talks. “Today we have adopted a roadmap to advance our relations. It is in essence a conceptual plan for Belarus-India short-term cooperation. But it is not set in stone. I think that the roadmap will be expanded. The presidents have instructed to prepare a concrete plan of bilateral cooperation that will specify concrete periods for implementing projects and people responsible for them. This plan will be prepared soon,” noted the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Vladimir Makei reminded that among other things the sides had agreed on shipping Belarusian machines, primarily agricultural ones, to India, on establishing joint ventures to make Belarusian vehicles in India, and on the establishment of joint ventures in Belarus, for which the Indian government has allocated about $100 million in credit resources. “Now we should promptly prepare the relevant concrete projects for using these credit resources,” he noted.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs also said that the Indian side had invited the Belarusian head of state to visit India. “I think next year may be the optimal time. We should reach concrete results by that time. I am convinced that our trade and economic cooperation figures will be totally different by that time,” stressed the Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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