Belgrade, Sep 16: Describing the relations between India and Serbia as being deeply rooted in history, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu has said that changes in global geo-politics again give the two countries an opportunity to work together for mutual benefit and for sharing prosperity with others.
Addressing a special session of Serbian Parliament on Saturday, the Vice President said, ''from the early days of Independent India, both countries laid great emphasis on Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and contributed much to creation of a new and democratic world order, particularly for the post-colonial third world that challenged the concept of bipolar world. The changes in global geo-politics now again give us an opportunity to work together for mutual benefit and for sharing prosperity with others.''
Referring to the International Day of Democracy on Saturday, Mr Naidu gave a detailed account of the steady growth and consolidation of parliamentary democracy in India.
“Over the years, Indian Parliament has evolved as a democratic forum that attentively listens to fascinatingly complex voices from different parts of the vast country and responds to diverse concerns with agility,'' he said.
Highlighting the importance of democracy for participatory development, Mr Naidu quoted Jawaharlal Nehru from his speech at the same venue in 1961 and said Nehru gave a call ‘’For building in our countries societies where freedom is real. Freedom is essential because freedom will give us strength and enable us to build prosperous societies”.
It was in the same hallowed hall of the National Assembly of Serbia that former Prime Minister late Jawaharlal Nehru addressed the world leaders while launching the Non-Alignment Movement along with the veteran leader of Yugoslavia late Marshal Tito.
Former Prime Minister late Rajiv Gandhi visited Yugoslavia, now Serbia, as early as in 1989.
During the hectic day of high level engagements, Mr Naidu held detailed discussions on a range of bilateral and multilateral issues with President Aleksander Vucic, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and Speaker of the National Assembly of Serbia Maja Gojkovic besides addressing a business forum.
During the joint media briefing along with Mr Naidu, President of Serbia Aleksander Vucic complimented the Indian political leadership for stellar economic results. “India is witnessing exceptional economic progress. We are happy for the country who has been our longtime friend and well wisher,'' he said.
He also thanked India for recognizing Serbia’s territorial integrity and assured Serbia’s support to India in all forums like the United Nations, Nuclear Suppliers Group etc. Vucic stressed that Serbia is keen to engage with India on agriculture, pharmacy, IT and generic medicines. He also said Serbia is willing to exchanges on military technology and military education.
During his talks with the top leaders and businessmen of Serbia, the Vice-President gave a detailed account of the rapid strides being made by India in various fields including an enabling, predictable and reform oriented financial and investment eco-systems offering mutually beneficial partnerships.
Voicing concerns over the menace of terrorism, he called for a speedy Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT). Mr Naidu sought Serbia’s support to India in the next month’s s elections to the UN Human Rights Council.
The Vice-President noted that both the countries had difficult periods in recent history but have emerged stronger from each of these crises because of the courage to reform. "The economic reforms in India and in Serbia in the 1990s have effectively converted some of the major challenges into opportunities” he observed.
On the occasion of 70 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Serbia Post and India Post have released commemorative stamps on renowned Serbian physicist and innovator Nikola Tesla and Swami Vivekananda. Naidu noted that Swami Vivekananda’s thoughts and ideas left a deep impression on Tesla’s works.
In the presence of the President of Serbia and Vice President of India, both the sides signed two agreements. The one Plant Protection and Quarantine seeks to enhance trade in fruits, vegetables and processed foods. The second one on Revised Air Services aims at promoting connectivity boosting trade and tourism including direct air link between the two countries in due course.
On his second overseas visit as Vice President will also visit Malta and Romania before returning home on Friday next week. On his first such visit, Mr Naidu visited the Latin American Countries of Guatemala, Panama and Peru. (UNI)