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08 April 2021, 11:30

Lukashenko: Visit of India's PM could give a boost to bilateral relations

MINSK, 8 April (BelTA) – The official visit of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Belarus may give a strong impetus to bilateral cooperation, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with outgoing Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of India to Belarus Sangeeta Bahadur on 8 April, BelTA has learned.

“I believe that over two decades of our cooperation we have built a good understanding of the capacities of India and Belarus. Probably, the time has come to translate it into specific agreements and contracts and move forward in our cooperation. I believe that we need some kind of impetus, some kind of incentives to proceed to the practical stage of fulfilling our plans. I think that the visit of Narendra Modi to Belarus could give a strong impetus to our relations. We are very familiar with each other, we are even on friendly terms to some extent, we support each other. I believe that he should have visited Belarus a long time ago. He is more than welcome here. His official visit would give a strong boost to our relations in all areas,” the president said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko thanked the diplomat for the work she had done during her rather short tenure as the ambassador of friendly India to Belarus. The head of state emphasized that over two decades of cooperation, the trade between Belarus and India increased 10 times. “Slightly more than half a billion dollars. This is pretty good, but we can do better than that. We can achieve more. You know it better than me,” the head of state said.

The president noted that he would be happy if the next ambassador of India had the same determination to promote good and fruitful relations as Sangeeta Bahadur. “He could build on the ideas that you worked on. There are many undertakings, and a lot has already been done,” the Belarusian leader stated.

“I think the time has come to convert our plans into action and take several steps towards close cooperation,” Aleksandr Lukashenko added.

In turn, Sangeeta Bahadur thanked Aleksandr Lukashenko for meeting with her, which is a great honor. “I know very well that not all ambassadors are so privileged,” she said.

The head of state responded that the two countries have a long history of cooperation that started back in the Soviet times. In addition to that, India is one of the biggest countries in the world. “And not only that. You are our friends. How could I not meet with you?” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“I absolutely agree with you and share your position on all aspects of bilateral relations that you have mentioned. Indeed, we have achieved a lot over the three years of my tenure. We have significantly expanded trade, Belarus has increased its presence in India,” Sangeeta Bahadur said.

She welcomed a notable reinvigoration of contacts between the private sectors of India and Belarus, progress in cooperation between BELAZ and Coal India Limited. “I remember the times when Mr. Myasnikovich [Mikhail Myasnikovich has been the chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission since 1 February 2020; before that he was Chairman of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly] asked me why India did not buy Belarusian equipment. It might sound immodest, but I tried really hard to rectify this situation and my efforts bore fruit,” the ambassador said.

The diplomat added that Belarus established a solid market presence in India in the field of petroleum products, agriculture and information technology.

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