YEREVAN—President Serzh Sarkisian received on April 25 the delegation led by the Vice-President of India, Chairperson of the Upper House of the Indian Parliament Mohammad Hamid Ansari, the press office of the president of Armenia announced on Monday.
The President welcomed the guests and expressed hope that the official visit of Ansari will give a new impetus to the centuries-long Armenian-Indian friendship. Speaking about the Armenian-Indian historical relations, Sarkisian noted that Armenian communities have existed in India since the 17th-19th centuries and played an active role in India’s social, political, economic, and cultural life, including in Calcutta where Ansari was born.
The parties concurred that Armenian-Indian relations constitute a solid base for the strengthening of the interstate ties and expansion of the cooperation agenda in different areas. Sarkisian and Ansari stressed the importance of high-level visits and active contacts on different levels, including between the legislative bodies of the two countries.
During the meeting, Ansari conveyed the message of the President of India Pranab Mukherjee with an invitation to conduct an official visit to India.
The parties also discussed the situation in the region, current challenges, the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) Republic peace process, as well as pressing international issues.
Ansari visited the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial today accompanied by Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian.
The Vice President laid a wreath at the Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex and paid tribute to the memory of victims with a minute of silence.
Ansari also visited the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute (AGMI), watched the displays and left a note in the Guest Book.
AGMI Director Hayk Demoyan presented him the English edition of the “Armenian Genocide: Frontpage coverage in the world press” and an album of French Armenian artist Jean Jansem’s works.
Later on, Ansari planted a fir tree in the memory Alley.
Prime Minister Karen Karapetian the same day received the Indian delegation, reported the press service of the Armenian government.
Welcoming Ansari’s delegation, Karapetian 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,” Karapetian pointed out.
The 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 sectors. According to the Karapetian, 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. It has great potential as a business project, and its subsequent operation and modernization should be approached from that perspective, Karapetian said.
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, Karapetian said. “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 and trade regime will allow unimpeded access to these markets. Also, we suggest considering the involvement of Indian companies in jewelry, watchmaking and precious stones processing activities in Meridian free economic zone in Armenia,” he continued.
In this regard, the Prime Minister stressed the need to 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.
Karapetian 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 Ansari stressed the warm, friendly ties that bind both people and both countries.
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,” Ansari said.
“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,” Ansari noted, expressing willingness to closely cooperate in the field of agricultural supplies and other industries.
The parties took the opportunity to discuss the possibility of establishing direct air communications, noting that it 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, to expand and deepen exchanges in education and culture.
Various ministries of the two republics Memoranda of Understanding 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.