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Minsk/New Delhi: India on Thursday extended a new line of credit of $100 million to Belarus and also agreed to work together bilaterally. India would also address trade barriers in the context of Russia-driven Eurasian Economic Union, President Pranab Mukherjee said.

Addressing the India-Belarus Joint Business Council Meeting in Minsk, Mukherjee said India was emerging as one of the fastest growing markets in the world with more than 7 percent growth rate over the past decade.

“There are positive signals that suggest that we may be moving to an even higher growth path. My visit reflects India’s deep interest in strengthening our partnership with Belarus.” he said.

The president said India’s “consolidation measures have improved our fiscal position” and the steps taken have worked to kick-start the Indian economy.

He said the Roadmap on the India-Belarus partnership inked on Wednesday focuses on economic, trade, investment and technology partnerships.

The areas identified for cooperation include conventional and small-scale power generation, new and renewable energy, metallurgy and mining, defense, automotive and agricultural engineering, pharmaceuticals, textiles, agriculture and food processing.

The bilateral trade is modest and way below potential, the President said, adding that his interactions with President Lukashenko made him “hopeful that we can increase our trade to a level of $1 billion by the year 2020”.

“I am confident that this level is achievable if we expand the range of items in our trade basket, increase the share of high-technology and value-added products and enhance exchanges and cooperation in the services sector, such as healthcare, IT, financial services, transport and logistics,” Mukherjee said.

Mukherjee said the decision to grant ‘Market Economy Status’ to Belarus was a significant step towards enhancing bilateral trade and promoting greater integration of Belarus in international trade structures.

He called upon companies from India and Belarus to increase their engagement in trade fairs as well as national, international and regional exhibitions held in both countries.

Mukherjee said both sides were committed to take all possible measures to enhance FDI.

“As both Belarus and India are nations with a tradition of scientific and technological research, our bilateral partnership in these areas can benefit tremendously if the forces of innovation and entrepreneurship could combine with our existing strengths in research,” he said.

He urged companies to explore avenues for technical cooperation in areas such as new and renewable energy, space, the chemical industry, automotive industry including special vehicles, IT, telecommunications, transport, construction and industrial infrastructure.

(With inputs from IANS)


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