Belgrade [Serbia], June 9 (ANI): President Droupadi Murmu on Friday successfully concluded her two-nation visits to Suriname and Serbia, the Ministry of External Affairs informed in a statement.
President Murmu visited Suriname and Serbia from June 4 to 9. This was her maiden visit to Suriname, at the invitation of Suriname President Chandrikapersad Santokhi, and also her first state visit since assuming office in July 2022. Murmu also received an invitation from Serbian President Aleksander Vucic to visit his country.
"President Droupadi Murmu @rashtrapatibhvn successfully concludes her visit to SurinameSerbia. The visit has set new milestones in India's ties with the two countries," tweeted MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on Friday.
President Droupadi Murmu and Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic on Thursday agreed to set a target for bilateral trade from the present 32 crore Euros to one billion euros by the end of the decade, the Ministry of External Affairs said.
During the business event, both leaders agreed to set a target for bilateral trade from the present 32 crores to a billion euros by the end of the decade, Ministry of External Affairs Secretary-West Sanjay Verma said in a media briefing.
MEA Secretary said President Droupadi Murmu had a packed day of official engagements, which started with a guard of honour at the Serbia Palace, followed by restricted-level talks, delegation-level talks, a joint address to the media and a business event.
"During the interactions on Thursday morning, both presidents reiterated old commitments and resolved to explore new areas of cooperation for further strengthening bilateral relations," MEA Secretary West Sanjay Verma said.
The Speaker of the National Assembly of Serbia, Dr Vladimir Orlic, also called on President Murmu.
Later, President Droupadi Murmu laid a wreath on the memorial of the unknown warrior atop Mountain Avala in Belgrade.
During delegation-level talks, President Vucic was joined by the Ministers of Defense, Agriculture, Culture, Health, mining and energy, construction, transport and infrastructure, trade and tourism, and youth, which means eight members of the Cabinet were present today for the delegation-level talks. Each participating minister was briefed about the potential in their respective sectors, Sanjay added.
At the outset, President Vucic expressed his condolences for the loss of lives in the triple train accident in Odisha. During the bilateral interactions, both leaders reiterated their principle stand on the rule of law, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations. President Butcheck described Serbia's relationship with India as a fraternity.
He termed India as a time-tested, friendly country and told the Indian president to consider Serbia as a second motherland.
President Vucic identified six major areas of cooperation. "These included defence and military tech cooperation pharmaceuticals, agriculture, industrial cooperation, information technology, AI cultural cooperation, including film production and cemetery graphics".
Both sides discussed "cooperation in the field of culture, particularly in cinema films, and tourism came up repeatedly". Serbia sees the potential of attracting Indian filmmakers for shooting post-production and during the visit, there is a high-profile Indian film crew shooting in this country.
Murmu reached Suriname on June 4 and towards the end of her visit, she said that a mini India resides in Suriname and highlighted the significant contributions made by Indians in various aspects of Suriname's development, including the economy, society, and culture.
President Droupadi Murmu was also conferred with the highest civilian award of Suriname -- Grand Order of the Chain of the Yellow Star.Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated her on the honour saying that this special gesture from the government and the people of Suriname symbolizes the enduring friendship between the two countries.
"Congratulations to Rashtrapati Ji on being conferred the highest civilian award of Suriname - Grand Order of the Chain of the Yellow Star. This special gesture from the Government and people of Suriname symbolizes the enduring friendship between our countries", the Prime Minister said in a tweet.
During her visit, she also met people of Indian origin living in Suriname at a community reception which was also attended by Suriname President Chandikaprasad Santokhi.
Addressing the people present on the occasion, President Draupadi Murmu said, "It is a matter of pride for us that Indians have reached the highest positions in Suriname.""My first state visit after assuming office is to Suriname. It is a privilege for me to be part of the celebration of 150 years of the arrival of Indians in Suriname. It is a matter of pride for us that Indians have reached the highest positions in Suriname. Indians have been contributing significantly to the development of Suriname economically, socially and culturally," President Murmu said.
She further said the Centre's policy is to build permanent relations with all its friendly countries.
"Today India is moving fast towards development, India has always been ahead in helping its friendly countries regarding vaccines and medicines," she added.
Suriname President Chandrikapersad Santoki, while addressing the event, said that Suriname will further strengthen the 47 years of relationship with India.
"We are celebrating 150 years of Indian coming to Suriname, we are overwhelmed to wholeheartedly welcome the President of India on this occasion. We will further strengthen the 47 years of relationship between Suriname and India, and will further strengthen cultural and social-religious ties. Despite the distance of thousands of kilometres, a mini India resides in Suriname. Our relations have become stronger after Draupadi Murmu ji's visit. I say thanks on behalf of the people of Suriname," he said.
Earlier, President Murmu paid floral tributes at Mahatma Gandhi's statue along with her Suriname counterpart Chandrikapersad Santokhi in Knuffelsgracht of capital Paramaribo on Tuesday.
"Remembering the lasting legacy of Mahatma. President Droupadi Murmu @rashtrapatibhvnPresident @CSantokhi of Suriname paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi in Paramaribo," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted. (ANI)