The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu who led a high-level delegation to the Baltic Countries of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, concluded his tri-nation tour by expanding India’s outreach in the region and deepening the bilateral relations with all the three nations, which have agreed to support India’s claim for a permanent seat in the United Nations’ Security Council.
The Vice President arrived in Delhi early this morning after completing a series of official engagements in Estonia on the last leg of his tour.
During his visit, Shri Naidu held wide-ranging talks with the heads of all three nations and addressed business forums and Indian diaspora. The three Baltic nations assured the Vice President that they would work closely with India in various multilateral fora and pledged to fight against terrorism.
Shri. Naidu kick-started his tour in Lithuania. He met with the President of Republic of Lithuania, Mr. Gitanas Nausėda in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania on the first leg of his tour. He briefed the President, on the recent decision of the Indian Government to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution that conferred Special Status upon Jammu and Kashmir. The Vice President thanked the Government of Lithuania for condemning the Pulwama terrorist attack.
Addressing the Indian community at Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania on the second day, he said the bilateral trade between the two 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.
On the third day of his tri-nation Baltic tour, the Vice President met with the Prime Minister of Lithuania, Mr. Saulius Skvernelis, the Speaker of the Seimas (Parliament) of the Republic of Lithuania, Mr. Viktoras Pranckietis and addressed the India-Lithuania business forum before emplaning for Riga, Latvia where he addressed the Indian community in the evening.
During his interaction with the Prime Minister Mr. Saulius Skvernelis, the Vice President stressed the need for enlarging and democratizing the UN Security Council. He sought Lithuania’s support for India’s claim for permanent membership of the Security Council pointing out that India represented one-sixth of the global population.
Earlier, addressing India-Lithuania Business Forum the Vice President urged Lithuanian businessmen to tap the immense opportunities in India, which has a rising middle class market comparable to the European Union.
Praising Lithuania for achieving an enviable 14th rank in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of doing business”, Shri Naidu cited IT & ITES, Pharmaceuticals and Agro-Food Processing among the areas in which the two nations could collaborate.
Later, addressing the Indian community in Riga, the capital of Latvia, the Vice President said that Latvia and India enjoy friendly and cordial relations which have been growing steadily in diverse spheres since the establishment of our diplomatic relations in 1991. “India is committed to strengthening its relations with Latvia in all spheres, including business and investment, cultural and academic cooperation and people to people-to-people connect”, he added.
The Vice President said that India was proud of the contributions made by its 30 million-strong Diaspora all over the world. “You have been helpful in bringing foreign investments, technology, expertise and goodwill to India”, he added.
On the fourth day of his tour, the Vice President held wide ranging discussions with the President and Prime Minister of the Republic of Latvia, Mr. Egils Levits and Mr. Krišjānis Kariņš respectively in Riga.
Addressing media along with the President of Latvia, Shri. Naidu said that India always believed in peaceful co-existence with all nations, including its neighbours and expressed concern over the menace of terrorism. He said that all countries must come together to ensure universal peace and progress.
He also sought the support of Latvia to combat climate change challenges through the International Solar Alliance.
During the talks with the Acting Speakerof the Parliament of Latvia, Ms. IneseLībiņa-Egnere, the two leaders discussed the need to increase parliamentary exchanges between the two nations and a proposal to establish a joint parliamentary friendship group.
The Vice President later addressed the first ever India-Latvia Business Forum and called for taking the bilateral trade and economic cooperation to new heights.
He also visited the National History Museum of Latvia in Riga and unveiled the bust of the Father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi at the National Library of Latvia.
Addressing 60 heads of Estonian diplomatic missions along with the Foreign Minister of Estonia, Mr. Urmas Reinsalu on the last day of his tri-nation tour to the Baltic Region, Shri Naidu said that India would not accept interference or mediation in the internal affairs of the country and asserted that restructuring of Jammu Kashmir state was aimed at improving governance and fostering inclusive and equitable growth.
The Vice President decried attempts to spread misinformation and internationalize the re-structuring of the Jammu & Kashmir state which was purely an administrative matter and within the purview of the Indian government.
He also held wide ranging talks with the President and Prime Minister of Estonia, who pledged to support India’s claim for permanent membership of the United Nation’s Security Council (UNSC) and to intensify the global efforts to fight against terrorism.
The Vice President and both the dignitaries, the President, Ms. Kersti Kaljulaid and the Prime Minister, Mr. Jüri Ratas have agreed to expand bilateral relations in all spheres, particularly economic, cultural and Information Technology.
The Vice President urged all members of the UN to demonstrate a collective political will for early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism which was proposed by India in 1996.
Addressing the media along with the President of Estonia, Shri Naidu said that both the dignitaries recognized the importance of building a global order based on respect for international law and national sovereignty. They also discussed common concerns such as climate change and global warming. “I invite Estonia to join the International Solar Alliance in which India is playing a leading role”, he added.
Addressing the India-Estonia Business Forum, the Vice President said that India has been recording an economic growth of over 7% for several years and was expected to become a US $ 5Trillion economy by 2025.
He said that, given Estonia’s IT capabilities and the disruptive innovation environment, there was a vast potential for building technology partnerships between India’s and Estonian Companies in IT, Cyber Security and related domains.
Appreciating Estonia’s e-residency scheme, which facilitated about 2200 Indians to become e-residents of Estonia, he said it would enable Indian companies and entrepreneurs to use Estonia as a launch pad for entering the Baltic, Nordic and European markets.
Referring to the bilateral trade of US $ 172 million between Estonia and India, Shri Naidu called for increasing trade and economic cooperation between the two nations. He said the companies of both the countries can have technology partnerships in IT, Cyber Security and related domains. He invited Estonian business men to take advantage of flagship programs like Make in India, Digital India and consider manufacturing in India to access markets in India, South Asia, Europe and Africa.
Addressing the Indian community, the Vice President outlined various schemes and programs launched by the government to propel India’s economy and appealed to the Indian diaspora to co-script India’s growth story as it marches to become a US $ 5 Trillion economy.
Coinciding with the Vice President’s visit, MoUs on Cyber Security and the exemption of Visa requirement for Diplomatic Passport holders were signed between Indian and Estonian officials. An enhanced agreement on e-governance was also signed.
The Vice President also paid homage to the martyrs of Estonia’s struggle for independence by placing a wreath at the memorial in Vabaduse Square.