President Droupadi Murmu and Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic on Thursday agreed to set a target for bilateral trade from the present 32 crore Euros to one billion euros by the end of the decade, Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.
During the business event, both leaders agreed to set a target for bilateral trade from the present 32 crores to a billion euros by the end of the decade, Ministry of External Affairs Secretary-West Sanjay Verma said in a media briefing.
MEA Secretary said that President Droupadi Murmu had a packed day of official engagements, which started with a guard of honour at the Serbia Palace, followed by restricted-level talks, delegation-level talks, a joint address to the media and a business event.
“During the interactions on Thursday morning, both presidents reiterated old commitments and resolved to explore new areas of cooperation for further strengthening bilateral relations,” MEA Secretary West Sanjay Verma said.
There was also a call on by the Speaker of the National Assembly of Serbia, Dr Vladimir Orlic Honor President.
After that, President Droupadi Murmu laid a wreath on the memorial of the unknown Warrior atop Mountain Avala in Belgrade, Serbia.
During delegation-level talks, President Vucic was joined by the Ministers of Defense, Agriculture, Culture, Health, mining and energy, construction, transport and infrastructure, trade and tourism, and youth, which means eight members of the Cabinet were present today for the delegation-level talks. Each participating minister was briefed about the potential in their respective sectors, Sanjay added.
At the outset, President Vucic expressed his condolences for the loss of lives in the tragic train accident in Odisha. During the bilateral interactions, both leaders reiterated their principle stand on the rule of law, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations. President Butcheck described Serbia’s relationship with India as a fraternity.
He termed India as a time-tested, friendly country and told the Indian president to consider Serbia as a second motherland.
President Vucic identified six major areas of cooperation. “These included defence and military tech cooperation pharmaceuticals, agriculture, industrial cooperation, information technology, AI cultural cooperation, including film production and cemetery graphics”.
Both sides discussed “cooperation in the field of culture, particularly in cinema films, and tourism came up repeatedly”. Serbia sees the potential of attracting Indian filmmakers for shooting post-production and during the visit, there is a high-profile Indian film crew shooting in this country.
“Well-appreciated discussions continued on the positive advantages of collaborating in the space of cinema because of its relationship with tourism and also building business relations as countries get familiar with each other,” he said..
Serbia has also offered very attractive concessions for filming in Serbia.
For instance, about 20 to 25 per cent cashback facility is given by the Serbian government to film units shooting in this country. President Vucic also emphasized that it was his desire to establish direct air linkages between Belgrade and Delhi.
On the matters of operationing direct flight between India and Serbia, he said, “Describing his own personal experience as a youth, he appreciated the sincerity and work ethos of Indians on direct connectivity. President Vucic mentioned several concessions or subsidies that Serbia was willing to offer to Indian Airlines if they operated a direct flight between India and Serbia.”
President Murmu assured President Vucic that the Indian Airlines private alliance would be informed about these facilities and concessions that Serbia was offering to India’s private civilization sector.
Recalling his visit to India in 2017, as then the Prime Minister of Serbia, President Vucic appreciated personal commitment and leadership for further sending India-Serbia relations. President Murmu also thanked the Serbian government for issuing a special postal stamp commemorating 75 years of India’s independence.
Adding to the list of President Vucic, she highlighted the unprecedented change that India is going through and called for cooperation in new areas like science and technology, machinery, equipment, startups, and clean and renewable energy.
President also identified skilled and semiskilled manpower from India as having the potential to fill a vital gap in human resources in Serbia.
The spiritual heritage of India as well as yoga and Ayurveda also came up repeatedly in the conversation. Because these Indian contributions, both yoga and ayurveda, are popular in Serbia and do not require an introduction, both presidents after that addressed the media jointly.
On arrival, President Murmi was accorded a ceremonial welcome and a guard of honour at the airport. She paid floral tributes at the bust of Mahatma Gandhi in Belgrade.
On arrival later in the afternoon, she addressed a gathering of the Indian diaspora and Friends of India. She underlined that both India and Serbia are ancient lands and the relationship has been defined in the context of the nonaligned movement.
In recent years, both sides have shared an understanding of each other’s core interests. Serbia has been a valuable partner in India’s sustainable development program. As India emerges as a leading power, her role will enhance an issue related on issues related to climate change, counterterrorism connectivity, maritime security, financial inclusion, and food and energy security.
President appreciated and admired the contribution of the diaspora and Friends of India and underscored their positive contribution towards strengthening India.
And on the other hand, the Indian community is at its incipient state here, and in the coming few years we will find more Indian professionals here students, entrepreneurs, etc.