India, Belarus to step up defence and security ties
Minsk: India and Belarus today decided to work together on defence and security issues as President Pranab Mukherjee met his Belarusian counterpart and agreed on a 17-point roadmap aimed at strengthening mutual trust and confidence.
The President, who arrived here late last night on a two-day visit, was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the majestic Palace of Independence by Belarusian President A G Lukashenko.
After the ceremony, Mukherjee had a one-to-one meeting with Lukashenko.
During the talks with Lukashenko, the President discussed a host of issues which included increasing trade ties between the two countries besides boosting co-operation in the field of mining, education and heavy machinery.
Later, the two Presidents witnessed signing ceremony of several agreements and Memorandum of Understandings, including agreements between Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and Ministry of Finance, Bureau of Indian Standards as well as between Prasar Bharti and National State Television.
The agreements signed included the 17-point roadmap which is aimed at strengthening mutual trust and confidence between the two countries and having a strong commitment to develop multifaceted and long term co-operation.
The two countries will work together to ensure full implementation of MoU on defence related technical cooperation between the countries and develop a legal framework for bilateral cooperation in the field of security issues.
The roadmap will ensure enhancing of high-level and ministerial contact between the two countries, optimise the structure of bilateral trade, increase trade turnover, create favourable conditions for enhanced direct investment and promote practical cooperation between financial institutions.
Under the agreement, the two countries will enhance coordination in science and technology, energy sector, metals and mining, potash fertilisers, give boost to raw material in textile sector, extension of cooperation by Belarus in modernisation of public electric transport system in India, agriculture and agro procession.
Exchange of students, promotion of tourism also figured in the agreements.
This is the first presidential visit from India to Belarus, a landlocked east European country. Belarus President had visited India twice in 1997 and 2007.
During his visit, Mukherjee will be unveiling a statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the Belarusian State University where he will be awarded an honourary degree.
The President will also inaugurate a refurbished power project for which the work has been done by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL).