Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome His Excellency Mr. Nikola Selakovic, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia to the Indian Council of World Affairs.
Your Excellency, I would like to thank you for taking time to be with us today, despite your busy schedule.
India and Serbia have historically enjoyed warm and friendly ties. As co-founders of the Non-Aligned Movement, we have shared deep and close friendship.
In the past few years, there have been high-level visits - Vice President of India visited Serbia in 2018 and earlier Prime Minister of Serbia was in India in 2017. Over the last several decades, our economic partnership has expanded and diversified to various sectors including Information technology, Agriculture, infrastructure and pharmaceuticals. We have strong cultural, academic and people to people ties. Serbia is the only country in Europe that allows Visa free entry for Indian passport holders for stay upto 30 days. This has contributed to building people-to-people closeness. A large number of Indians have been visiting Serbia. At the same time, a large number of Serbians visited India for business, and cultural purposes such as Yoga, Ayurveda and wellness.
Our relations are underpinned by great admiration among our peoples for each other.
Vice President of India, who is also President of the Indian Council of World Affairs, said during his visit to Serbia, in his speech at the special session of the Parliament of the Republic of Serbia in Belgrade in 2018 – “our ties started on a strong foundation of a shared global view of Non-Aligned Movement and we together created a large platform for the third world. The changes in global geo-politics now again give us an opportunity to work together for mutual benefit and for sharing prosperity with others”.
Excellency, Hence, our relationship is a natural partnership. Today, India sees Serbia as a gateway to Central Europe. Building upon each other’s strengths and with our commonality of views on major global issues, we can take our relationship to a new era of political, economic and commercial collaboration. And in this regard, we look forward to hearing your views on India-Serbia relations’ State of play and future Potential.
Your Excellency, I would like to once again extend a very warm welcome to you.