The Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia Maja Gojkovic met today with the Minister of External Affairs of the Republic of India Subrahmanyam Jaishankar to discuss the overall bilateral relations between the two countries and potentials for the advancement of economic cooperation.
Gojkovic and Jaishankar stressed that Serbia and India share a decades-long traditional friendship and understanding, with no outstanding issues, the Serbian Assembly Speaker recalled, marked with mutual respect and support, adding that last year saw the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Gojkovic went on to say that the two countries also enjoyed excellent cooperation in the Non-Aligned Movement which had its founding session at the National Assembly House in 1961, and that the present-day relationship was intensified after the visit of then Prime Minister and now President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic to India in 2017.
Gojkovic thanked India for respecting Serbia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and understanding the country’s stance on Kosovo-Metohija.
The Indian Minister of External Affairs said that his country believes in international law and has stood by Serbia in times of trouble, adding that India’s stance on Kosovo-Metohija is a matter of principle.
Recalling the Non-Aligned Movement’s founding session in Belgrade in 1961, Jaishankar said that the two countries share a traditional friendship that has stood the test of time, a solid groundwork on which India wishes to advance its relationship with Serbia.
Jaishankar thanked the National Assembly for the friendship and for organizing the exhibition of Indian embroidery and celebrating the international day of yoga, excellent ways to cultivate the relationship.
Gojkovic said that parliamentary cooperation is very important for the advancement of bilateral ties, adding that the long awaited visit of the Chairman of the Indian Council of States Venkaiah Naidu to Serbia and the Speaker of the House of the People Om Birla are an important step forward in the development of parliamentary relations. Gojkovic also thanked India for its parliamentary delegation headed by the Speaker of the House of the People Om Birla taking part in the 141st Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Belgrade.
Jaishankar said that the fact the heads of both houses of the Indian Parliament had visited Serbia speaks volumes about how important parliamentary cooperation is for his country and urged for closer cooperation between the parliamentary delegations in international parliamentary organizations.
The Indian Minister of External Affairs congratulated the Serbia on the successful organization of the 141st Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, saying that the fact that Belgrade managed to gather 149 countries and 77 parliament speakers in one place is a big step and sign of Serbia’s international position.
Gojkovic and Jaishankar spoke in favour of strengthening economic ties, with the Serbian Assembly Speaker listing the potentials of the tractor industry, agriculture and food industry, IT industry, healthcare and defence industry.
The Indian Minister of External Affairs said that there is a good basis to develop economic cooperation as an important aspect of overall relations, saying that Indian companies invest in the production and assembly of tractors, IT park, food production and it is possible to advance business cooperation in view of Serbia’s marked economic growth in recent years.
Besides business cooperation, Jaishankar said that the two countries should develop a partnership in a variety of areas, highlighting the importance of cooperation in the spheres of staff training and tourism, stressing that India appreciates the abolition of visas for its nationals which he believes would advance tourism.
Gojkovic and Jaishankar also praised the cultural cooperation between the two countries, especially in the film industry.