– Dr. Dilip Agnihotri
President Draupadi Murmu’s visit to Serbia was fruitful. This strengthened the relations between the two countries. Mutual partnership developed. Apart from this, Draupadi Murmu prominently mentioned India’s development and its efforts for world peace. His ideas were discussed at the world level. Thus, the President’s visit proved to promote bilateral relations as well as the wider interests of India. She is the first President of the country to visit Serbia. Serbia used to be a part of Yugoslavia, which had friendly relations with India. India and Yugoslavia are the founders of the Non-Aligned Movement. Yugoslavia disintegrated in 1990. Many countries were formed from it. It includes Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina. India has good relations with Serbia.
In the year 2017, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved the signing of MoU between India and Serbia on cooperation in the field of Information, Technology and Electronics. Draupadi Murmu went on a visit to Serbia on the invitation of Serbian President Alexander Vucic. He paid floral tributes at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Belgrade. Interacted with the people of the Indian community. He mentioned India’s emergence as an economic powerhouse and the myriad opportunities it offers. Called for making positive contribution towards strengthening India-Serbia relations. Draupadi Murmu said that India is passing through a phase of rapid and unprecedented change. The country is on track to become the third largest economy in the world. New infrastructure is developing rapidly in India. The country will become a developed nation by 2047. India is the fastest growing major economy in the world. It is growing with a GDP close to USD 3.5 trillion.
Cooperation in the field of information, technology and electronics between India and Serbia is on the rise. Active cooperation between other public and private organizations of both countries is promoting exchanges, capacity building of institutions. India’s relations with Serbia have been specifically defined in the context of the Non-Aligned Movement. Several sports coaches from Serbia are assisting Indian athletes and sportspersons in improving their skills.
Aleksandar Vucic reiterated Serbia’s position on territorial integrity and sovereignty of nations. President Vucic was joined by eight ministers from his government during the bilateral discussions. During this, it was agreed to enhance cooperation in areas including defense and military-technical cooperation, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, industrial cooperation, information technology, AI and cultural cooperation, including film production and cinematography. Serbia’s Prime Minister Ana Brnabic also held talks with Draupadi Murmu. Both discussed possible cooperation in trade, economy, tourism and culture. The Speaker of the National Assembly also deliberated on running the order of parliamentary dialogue. Obviously the President’s visit to Serbia was fruitful.
Earlier, the Vice President of India had visited Serbia in 2018 and earlier the Prime Minister of Serbia had visited India in 2017. Over the past several decades, our economic partnership has expanded to cover a wide range of sectors, including information technology, agriculture, infrastructure and pharmaceuticals. We have strong cultural, educational and people-to-people ties. Serbia is the only country in Europe that allows Indian passport holders visa-free entry for stays of up to 30 days. It has contributed in building people-to-people closeness. A large number of Indians are traveling to Serbia. On the other hand, a large number of Serbians have visited India for business and cultural purposes such as yoga, Ayurveda and wellness.
(The author is a freelance commentator.)
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