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14 March 2024, 12:55

Key takeaways from Belarus-India talks in New Delhi

Photos courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Photos courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
MINSK, 14 March (BelTA) - During the official visit of the Belarusian delegation to India, the foreign ministers discussed the entire range of issues on the bilateral agenda, from politics to humanitarian cooperation.

"Naturally, we paid special attention to the economic dimension of our bilateral relations,” Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Aleinik told the media summing up the visit on 13 March, BelTA has learned.

“Today, India is a rapidly developing country. It is the fifth largest economy in the world. Last year the GDP rose by 7%. There is every chance that by 2028 India will overtake Germany and settle for the fourth place," Sergei Aleinik noted.

According to him, this creates special prerequisites for building up the entire range of economic relations with India.

Development of the legal framework of relations was discussed during the visit. As of today, 28 bilateral documents have been signed between Belarus and India. "We are working on 6 to 7 new agreements. We have agreed to facilitate the work on them and prepare them for signing during the current year," the minister said.

The Belarusian delegation included representatives of various industries and businesses. Over the course of two days, the parties held a series of meetings with the senior officials of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, the Ministry of Healthcare and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Finance. A meeting was held at the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India with business circles, representatives of large Indian business. Projects between the two countries were discussed during all these meetings.

Foundation of cooperation

The Government of India prioritizes ambitious plans to build up economic potential and attaches focus on serious infrastructure projects and industrial cooperation. For this, the necessary conditions are being created in the country. "This is the foundation on which we could build our trade and economic relations," the head of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Access to the Indian market

The Government of India pays special attention to the development of such sectors as microelectronics, semiconductors, green energy, mechanical engineering and many other innovative industries.

"India is focusing on industrial cooperation projects in order to switch from simple trade, which we have been engaged in so far. This creates prerequisites for the enterprises of our manufacturing sector to enter the Indian market, set up assembly plants, localize products, primarily in the field of agricultural engineering, mining, passenger equipment," the minister said.

India has launched a large program to develop a fleet of electric buses. All cities are expected to convert to electric transport. The Indian side showed great interest in a possible joint project in this area with Belarus, which produces this type of transport.

Education

"We also looked into the development of cooperation in education. To date, about a thousand Indian students are studying in Belarus, most of them are majoring in medicine," Sergei Aleinik said.

He is sure that there are reserves to tap into and increase the number of students from India in Belarusian universities.


Tourism

Tourism is also one of the promising areas of cooperation. The parties agreed to hold press tours of Belarusian journalists to India and Indian journalists to Belarus this year to prepare a series of reports on the tourist attractiveness of the countries.

"The launch of Belavia's direct flight last year creates special prerequisites for this. From April, Belavia plans to increase the frequency of flights," the minister said.

In this context, an agreement was also reached to launch dialogue on visa facilitation for Indian citizens, especially for those traveling for business purposes, and also for organized tourist groups. "To this end, consular consultations will be held in the near future," Sergei Aleinik said.

Cooperation in international organizations

Interaction in international organizations was also among the topics during the talks. "We reaffirmed our mutual support for our efforts at the United Nations. We hold similar views with India on international relations, on the need to build a truly fair system of international relations, a just, multipolar world order, which would be based on the principles of equality of states and the balance of interests of all UN members," Sergei Aleinik said.

Cooperation in the SCO was on the agenda as well. India was the first to ratify the memorandum on Belarus' accession to this organization. "We agreed to hold consultations with India on cooperation in all dimensions of the SCO without exception," the minister said.

Cooperation in the BRICS format was also touched upon. "Our application is under consideration. India has expressed its support for our bid to join this organization. Issues of further expansion are planned to be discussed during this year. We hope that our application will be appropriately considered and supported," Sergei Aleinik noted.

He also noted that during the talks with the Indian foreign minister, minister of commerce and industry, the parties gave serious consideration to India's interaction with the Eurasian Economic Union. "My counterpart confirmed that India is seriously considering starting negotiations on a free trade agreement. Of course, we agreed to maintain contacts on this issue," the head of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
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