Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu today called upon the Indian community in Lithuania to serve as a bridge in strengthening economic and cultural relations between the two countries.
Addressing the Indian community at Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania on the second day of his three-nation tour to the Baltic region, he said the bilateral trade between the countries was below potential and added that Lithuania could be an important technology partner for India, especially in areas such as lasers, renewable energy, agro-food processing and life sciences.
Observing that India has become one of the fastest-growing large economies in the world, he said the business sentiment following the numerous initiatives implemented by the Government of India was positive and upbeat. “The New India’s mantra is “Reform, Perform and Transform”, he added.
Vice President Naidu also stressed that India was one of the most open economies of the world and is placed now at 77th rank among 190 countries in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index.
The Vice President said that the “Make in India” campaign was establishing India as the hub of manufacturing and investment. He said that “Smart Cities”, “Digital India” and “Skill India” Missions were not only transforming our nation but also providing immense opportunities to collaborate and work together. “Our youth are driving the digital revolution, powering the start-up ecosystem and pioneering artificial intelligence. The Start-up India flagship initiative is intended to build a strong Eco-system for nurturing innovation and entrepreneurship in the country”, he added.
Vice President Naidu said that India was making rapid strides in the development journey and has an ambitious plan to build next-generation infrastructure including 100 Smart Cities, 10 green-field airports, 7 high-speed train corridors, 5 major ports, highways and nation-wide broadband connectivity linking our villages and urban areas.
The Vice President praised the Indian diaspora for acting as a bridge to integrate the cultures of India and Lithuania. He told them to be conscious of the rich culture of their motherland and strive to spread India’s message of peace and goodwill, symbolized by the universal and timeless philosophy of Vasudaiva Kutumbam.
Appreciating the keen interest showed by Lithuania in Indian culture, philosophy, arts and spirituality, the Vice President described the members of the diaspora as India’s cultural ambassadors.
Mentioning the technological progress made by India, Vice President Naidu referred to the successful launch of ‘Chadrayaan 2’, India’s second mission to the moon, which had been fully fabricated in India, last month. ‘The mission is really a glowing testimony to the rapid advances the country has been making in Science and Technology in the last few years’, he added.
Applauding the Vilnius University for being at the forefront in promoting Indology studies, including Hindi, the Vice President said that interest in Indian philosophy, films and cuisine had risen phenomenally.
Vice President Naidu expressed his happiness that Lithuanian Universities had become a destination of choice for Indian students whose numbers increased significantly in recent years. He appealed to the young Indian students to be sensitive to local culture and sensitivities.
Referring to the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Vice President said that Lithuania held a special place of importance because Gandhi ji’s closest friend and soul mate, Hermann Kallenbach was from Lithuania.
He thanked the Government of Lithuania for commemorating their friendship by installing a sculpture of Gandhi and Kallenbach in Rusne.
Earlier, the Vice President visited the city of Kaunas and met with the Mayor, Visvaldas Matijosaitis, who hosted a lunch to Shri Naidu and the Indian delegation. The Mayor also presented the ‘Key to the City’ and ‘The Coat of Arms of Lithuania’, also known as Vytis, to the Vice President.
The Vice President also invited the Mayor to visit India with a business delegation to explore business opportunities between our two countries.
The Vice President also visited the laboratory area of the Institute of Material Sciences and the Ultra Sound Research Institute at the Santaka Valley of the Kaunas University of Technology in Kaunas. He also witnessed a presentation on the Krunois Hydro Power Plant at the University.
The former President of the Republic of Lithuania, Vytautas Landsbergis called on the Vice President and discussed the bilateral ties between the two countries.
(With inputs from agency)