India, Belarus look to expand trade ties as Prez meets PM Modi

RSTV Bureau
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Picture Courtesy: Twitter/@MEAIndia

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Picture Courtesy: Twitter/@MEAIndia

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is holding talks with visiting Belarus President AG Lukashenko. The two countries are set to strengthen their overall bilateral ties.

“The two sides are expected to discuss bilateral cooperation in defence and security, trade and investment, science and technology and people to people exchanges,” the MEA said.

MEA also said the two sides are also likely to exchange views and assessments on regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest.

The talks are also likely to feature India’s membership bid to Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and United Nations.

“Belarus is supportive of the Indian position, both on India’s (NSG) application as also in the nature of its United Nations Security Council permanent membership,” GV Srinivas, joint-secretary (Eurasia) with the Ministry of External Affairs, said.

“All areas of bilateral interest will be discussed,” he added.

Elaborating on the areas of cooperation between the two sides, the joint-secretary said Belarus had expertise in powder metallurgy.

“India has an advanced research centre in powder metallurgy in Hyderabad, established with the help of Belarus. The country (Belarus) had sent equipment and technology,” he said.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Picture Courtesy: Twitter/@MEAIndia.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Picture Courtesy: Twitter/@MEAIndia.

Lukashenko is in India for two days. This is his third visit to India as the President of Belarus, the last one being a decade ago.

Interestingly, this year Belarus and India are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

Lukashenko last met Prime Minister Modi at the sidelines of the 2016 Shangahi Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Tashkent.

A business forum and parallel meetings organised for members of the large delegation accompanying Lukashenko would explore business opportunities and avenues of cooperation in other areas.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Picture Courtesy: Twitter/@MEAIndia

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Picture Courtesy: Twitter/@MEAIndia

According to the MEA, the two-way bilateral trade in 2016 amounted to about USD 402 million. The trade balance remains in favour of Belarus primarily on account of imports of potash.

On Tuesday morning, the Belarusian President was honoured with a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

He also met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and later called on Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu.

(With inputs from agencies)