Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan received a governmental delegation headed by Indian Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari.
Karen Karapetyan and Hamid Ansari first met in private, after which the talks continued in an extended format.
Welcoming Hamid Ansari’s delegation, Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan expressed confidence that their visit would give a new impetus to the development of the Armenian-Indian economic cooperation.
“The relations between our two peoples boast a long history. The Armenian-Indian relations are characterized by high level of mutual understanding and trust. This year we are marking the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Armenia and India. Despite the high level of political dialogue between our countries, there is still much to be done in the field of economic cooperation, as there is a lot of potential,” Karen Karapetyan pointed out.
Prime Minister suggested enhancing efficiency in economic cooperation by targeting two areas: exchange of technologies and agriculture. At the same time, the Premier stressed the need for continued cooperation in all other prospective sectors. According to the Prime Minister, cooperation in the aforementioned two areas may cover information technology, pharmaceuticals, healthcare and engineering. The Prime Minister added that the two countries have been boasting successful and exemplary cooperation in the IT sector in the face of the Armenian-Indian Excellence Center in Information and Communication Technologies. As Karen Karapetyan said, it has great potential as a business project, and its subsequent operation and modernization should be approached from that perspective.
The head of the Armenian government highlighted the use of new technologies in the health sector and thanked the Indian side for the assistance provided for the creation of the telemedicine network.
“We are ready to provide the necessary conditions for Indian companies to do business in Armenia. In this context, I would like to mention the free economic zone on the border with Iran in Syunik, which will be operational this fall. Armenia’s joining the Eurasian Economic Union and the European Union’s GSP + trade regime will allow unimpeded access to these markets. Also, we suggest considering the involvement of Indian companies in jewelry, watch-making and precious stones processing activities in Meridian free economic zone in Armenia,” Karen Karapetyan said, adding that agriculture is a sector with great potential and Armenia is interested in developing cooperation in this field.
In this regard, the Prime Minister stressed the need to provide conditions for the import agricultural equipment from India and establishment of agro-machinery centers in Armenia. Priority was given to the development of cooperation in the field of seed production.
Karen Karapetyan highlighted the North-South Road International Transport Corridor project, noting that India is one of its co-founders. The Prime Minister said that in this framework Armenia has initiated a project that will make of Armenia a transit point for implementing swift and cost-effective multimodal shipments of Indian products on the way to Russia and European countries.
Thanking for the warm welcome, Vice President of India Mohammad Hamid Ansari stressed the warm, friendly ties that bind both people and both countries.
Hamid Ansari highlighted the friendly relations between the two countries and nations as a key asset. “Our countries have always identified goals and ways for cooperation in every stage of relationship. This was the case in the past and will continue in the future. Today’s world is a world of technology and we have achieved progressive growth in terms of adapting to the technological world. India has the capacity and is ready to share them out with Armenia in engineering, mechanical engineering, information technology and healthcare, including pharmaceuticals, agriculture and other sectors,” the Vice President of India said.
According to Mr Ansari, Armenia has gained importance through its associate relationship with the North, West and East, and India attaches great importance to bilateral cooperation in different directions. Convinced that the proposal to attract the Indian capital in Armenia’s free economic zones was quite promising, the Vice President assured that he would convey the message to his country’s business circles.
“What matters most is that Indian businesses have the ability and willingness to invest outside of India. We will closely monitor to ensure that our two countries find out new opportunities for interaction,” Hamid Ansari noted, expressing willingness to closely cooperate in the field of agricultural supplies and other industries.
In Indian Vice President’s words, Armenian and India boast long-standing and promising ties of friendship, and India is willing to fully cooperate with Armenia.
The parties took the opportunity to discuss the possibility of establishing direct air communications, which is a good way to develop trade and economic cooperation, facilitate tourism and the visa regime. In this context, the interlocutors touched upon the need to hold an Armenian-Indian business forum, expand and deepen exchanges in education and culture.
Attended by Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan and Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari, the following cooperation instruments were signed between the two governments: a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the field of youth affairs between the Armenian Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports of India as signed by RA Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Hrachya Rustamyan and Indian State Minister for Small and Medium Enterprise Giriraj Singh; practical program of cultural cooperation in 2017-2020 between the Armenian and Indian Ministries of Culture as signed by RA Minister of Culture Armen Amiryan and Indian Ambassador Yogeshvar Sangvan; a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of outer space between the governments of Armenia and India as signed RA Minister of Education and Science Levon Mkrtchyan and Secretary for East of the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Priti Saran.
Later today, Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan will host an official dinner in honor of Vice President of India M. Hamid Ansari.