Working visit of President Serzh Sargsyan to the Republic of India
President Serzh Sargsyan, who is paying a working visit to India on the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, attended the plenary session of the “World Food: India -2017” conference in New Delhi, and the ceremonious opening of an international food industry exhibition of the same name with about 2000 participants from over 20 countries.
The President of the Republic of Armenia made a speech at the conference.
Remarks delivered by President Serzh Sargsyan at World Food: India -2017 Conference
Your Excellency Mr Prime Minister,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
To begin with, I would like to warmly congratulate people of India and the distinguished Prime Minister Modi for organizing this impressive forum, as well as to thank for the invitation extended to me to participate in this event. I wish every success to all the participants of the exhibition.
The specialization and geographic diversity of the fair comes to demonstrate the mighty potential and role India plays in the global food market that resumed from the effective work carried out in the course of the 70 years of independence. I avail myself of this opportunity and congratulate friendly people of India upon that historical jubilee.
It is worth to note that India, a nation of history of several millenaries, in such a brief period of time managed to record impressive achievements in the nation’s political and social-economic development, thus becoming one of the major motive forces behind the world economy.
We in Armenia, as a friend of India, are glad to state that due to its reforms and consistent work, India is now self-sufficient in terms of food. Moreover, it became one of the recognized leaders of food production on the global market and major producer and exporter of a number of agricultural goods on the global scale.
It is further testified by this fair which, needless to say, is the best platform for sharing the best practices available in India, as well as identifying new markets and establishing new partnerships.
Processing agricultural goods and exporting food items is also important for Armenia’s economic development.
Armenian producers have been combining traditional methodologies and modern technologies to reprocess fruits and vegetables, and have thus accumulated some positive experience that led to ever increased demand for Armenian food products on the external markets. Our entrepreneurs are now initiating their first steps in order to present their products also on the Indian market.
We believe that the transfer to Indian entrepreneurs of the best Armenian know-how in the area of food production and cooperation to that effect may be promising. It may increase the effectiveness of the fruit and vegetables processing industry, as well as help create new enterprises and employment opportunities.
We can also give new impetus to Armenian-Indian cooperation in the multilateral format since Armenia is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union, and enjoys regime of generalized scheme of preferences in the trade with the European Union. Those entrepreneurs who would launch business activities in Armenia should have every opportunity to take advantage of the auspicious conditions provided by Armenia.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are living in times when numerous issues need joint and comprehensive solutions. One of such issues is food security. At the 2015 UN Sustainable Development Summit Armenia adopted Declaration and agenda for Sustainable Development. Food security is one among its 17 goals, as is giving impetus to sustainable agricultural development.
Armenia consistently works in order to achieve those objectives. Due to both our domestic policy and flexible external trade policy we register new achievements every year in the course of fulfilling those goals.
In conclusion let me once again wish every success to the cabinet of Prime Minister Modi in the course of realization of very promising reforms and projects they initiated, and the participants of this Forum-very fruitful work.
Thank you for your attention.
As part of his working visit to India, President Serzh Sargsyan met with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
At the beginning of the meeting, Narendra Modi thanked Serzh Sargsyan for accepting his invitation and attending the Conference. He expressed the hope that President Sargsyan’s visit would give fresh impetus to Armenian-Indian relations and enhance them to a new qualitative level. The Prime Minister of India noted that Armenia is a reliable and important partner for India in the Eurasian area. In his words, Armenian merchants were among the first to come to India and boost commercial ties between India and different countries.
Premier Modi congratulated President Sargsyan on successful completion of the constitutional reform in Armenia and the transition to the parliamentary system of governance, as well as on the victory of Serzh Sargsyan’s Republican Party in the parliamentary elections.
The President of Armenia said he had accepted the invitation with gratitude and was glad to be in a wonderful country like India. Serzh Sargsyan presented his impressions of the World Food Conference and the Exhibition that kicked off this morning. The President said he was delighted with the achievements of India, one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, especially in the field of food industry, and went on to assure that Armenia is strongly committed to deepening relations with India in all spheres - political, economic and humanitarian.
Noting that the deeply rooted friendly relations between Armenia and India provide the most solid groundwork for developing interstate relations between the two countries, the President of Armenia expressed the hope that his visit would give new impetus to the Armenian-Indian centuries-old friendship.
President Sargsyan availed himself of the opportunity to once again congratulate Prime Minister Modi and the friendly people of India on the 70th anniversary of India’s Independence. The Head of the Armenian State mentioned that as a friendly country, Armenia is pleased to witness India’s steadfast progress and its growing role and reputation in the international arena.
Reminding that Armenia and India have already crossed the 25-year threshold of establishing diplomatic relations, the parties concurred in that this jubilee is the best opportunity to sum up achievements and outline ways of expanding bilateral relations as all the necessary prerequisites are available.
The interlocutors stated that despite the ongoing high-level political dialogue between the two friendly nations, their countries boast greater potential for the development of bilateral relations, and there is still a lot of work to do in order to achieve tangible progress in this direction. Serzh Sargsyan and Narendra Modi attached importance to the activities of the Armenian-Indian intergovernmental commission, considering that it needed a better targeted agenda.
The President said Armenia is ready to offer favorable conditions for Indian companies. In this context, Serzh Sargsyan called the Indian side’s attention to the free economic zone, being established in Meghri on the border with Iran, which can become an effective platform for cooperation. According to President Sargsyan, Armenia’s accession to the EAEU may facilitate friendly India’s access to the huge Eurasian market.
During the meeting, the sides touched upon the emerging opportunities for closer interaction and exchange of experience in a wide range of areas of mutual interest, such as jewelry, diamond processing, pharmaceuticals, film production information technologies, agriculture, food processing, tourism, education, science and culture.
President Serzh Sargsyan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi noted with satisfaction that the two countries are engaged in active cooperation in the multilateral format, which is best evidenced by the readiness for mutual assistance in international organizations.
Reference was made to the situation and the challenges faced in the South Caucasian region, including the negotiations over a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
At the end of the meeting, President Sargsyan signed in the Book of Honorable Guests, noting that he was grateful for the warm welcome he was enjoying in friendly India, with which Armenia shares the highest universal values, including a common drive for democracy.
Within the framework of his working visit to India, President Serzh Sargsyan met with Vice President of the Republic of India, Chairman of the Upper House of Parliament Venkaiah Naidu in New Delhi.
Thankful for the warm welcome shown to his delegation in India, the President of Armenia highlighted the role of active inter-parliamentary cooperation in the strengthening of the Armenian-Indian interstate relations.
Evoking his warm recollections of the meeting held earlier this year with former Vice President of India Mohammed Hamed Ansari and the effective discussion of issues related to Armenian-Indian relations, Serzh Sargsyan expressed the hope that either Vice President Naidu would avail himself of the opportunity to visit Armenia, where he would enjoy a cordial welcome in the capacity of Vice President of a country with serious traditions of parliamentary democracy in the Asian region. President Sargsyan noted that Venkaiah Naidu’s visit would have a great impact on the development of interstate ties, especially in terms of strengthening inter-parliamentary relations.
Welcoming the high-ranking guest and his delegation, India’s Vice President pointed out that strong with ancient history and rich ethnic cultures, the Indian and Armenian peoples have many similarities and affinities based on shared values: they are hard-working, peace-loving and hospitable and, therefore, they need to continue building on their centuries-old friendship, as well as combining efforts to defy the emerging global challenges, including terrorism.
Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and President Serzh Sargsyan agreed that the two nations had common views and approaches as to the need of reforming the international structures, including the United Nations, so that they could respond to new challenges in line with today’s requirements.
The Armenian President advised that an Armenian-Indian parliamentary friendship group had already been established within the newly elected Armenian Parliament. In this regard, he stressed the need to organize both parliamentary groups and reciprocated high-level visits in a bid to boost the Armenian-Indian ties. The interlocutors pointed out that the two friendly countries’ delegates could successfully cooperate on inter-parliamentary platforms.
The parties next touched upon the prospects for bilateral trade and economic relations, as well as the developments and challenges in the South Caucasus, including the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.
Vice President Naidu highlighted the need for settling all conflicts exclusively through dialogue and peaceful means.
Today, President Serzh Sargsyan met with President of the Republic of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind in New Delhi.
Thankful for the high-level welcome shown to the Armenian delegation in India, President Sargsyan once again congratulated Ram Nath Kovind on his being elected as President of India, wishing him ever new achievements in his responsible mission aimed at ensuring India’s prosperity and the well-being of the people of India.
Serzh Sargsyan expressed confidence that the meeting with President Kovind would give new impetus to the strengthening of friendship between the Armenian and Indian peoples and the further development of relations between the two countries. The President of Armenia described the World Food Forum and the concurrent exhibition in India as quite impressive, noting that the official delegation of Armenia had attended the opening of the exhibition.
President Sargsyan spoke with satisfaction about the productive meetings held with Prime Minister Modi and Vice President Naidu on the sidelines of his working visit to India, during which ways of strengthening and deepening the Armenian-Indian friendly relations at the inter-parliamentary and intergovernmental levels were discussed.
Touching upon the Armenian-Indian centuries-old friendship, Serzh Sargsyan pointed out that there are numerous references to close relations between the two nations in the works of historians. Many sources claim that Armenian and Indian merchants established strong ties of cooperation as early as in the first millennium. President Sargsyan said it was not accidental that a considerable number of Armenian communities had been formed in a number of major Indian cities since the 16th century, which used to play an active role in India’s social, political, economic and cultural life.
Evoking the Armenian community in Calcutta alone, Serzh Sargsyan noted that in the 17-19th centuries it was very viable and played a key social and political role not only in India, but also in the public life of all Armenians. In that context, President Sargsyan made a point of Azdarar, the first Armenian printed magazine published in Madras as early as in 1794, as well as a book authored by Hakob Shahamiryan, Vorokait Parats (Snare of Glory), that was published in 1773, and which outlined the future Constitution of the independent Armenian State.
President Serzh Sargsyan thanked the President and the people of India for their thoughtfulness of the Armenian cultural heritage in India. Noting that tomorrow he was going to visit Taj Mahal, one of the best sights of India in Agra, the President said to be pleased with the fact that Armenian builders, too, participated in the construction of this magnificent monument.
Serzh Sargsyan noted with satisfaction that over the past 25 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, Armenia and India have managed to translate our peoples’ deeply rooted friendship into strong bonds of interstate partnership.
The President thanked his counterpart for extending congratulations on this remarkable jubilee and expressed the hope that top-level meetings might help tap the huge potential of cooperation between the two nations and outline new vectors of bilateral relations.
In turn, the President of India congratulated his counterpart on steering Armenia successfully from the presidential form of government to the parliamentary form, as well as on the victory of Serzh Sargsyan’s Republic Party in the latest general elections, wishing them every success.
The interlocutors also touched upon regional issues and challenges, including the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement process. President Ram Nath Kovind reaffirmed his country’s position that conflicts should be settled peacefully through dialogue, and went on to underscore that India supports the mediation efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.
The first day of President Serzh Sargsyan’s working visit to India was concluded with a late meeting held with the representatives of the Armenian community.
The President addressed the meeting with greeting remarks, in which he touched upon the historical affinities and interactions between Armenia and India, the key role played by the Armenian community in strengthening our two peoples’ centuries-old friendship, Armenia-Diaspora relations, the challenges facing the Motherland and Armenians all over the world, the ways of dealing with them, as well as on the latest noteworthy developments in Armenia’s public life, including the country’s transition to full-fledged parliamentary governance following the referendum.
During the meeting, Serzh Sargsyan answered the questions of interest to community representatives, taking note of their success stories, problems and expectations from the Motherland. The Head of State was briefed on the Armenian community’s daily activities.
At the request of those present, President Sargsyan dwelt on the matters discussed and the agreements reached during today’s meetings with India’s top leadership that were aimed at strengthening the historical ties between the two friendly States and peoples. The President said he was pleased to see Dr. Daljeet Singh Chauhan, the President of Yerevan Medical University Alumni Association among the attendees. Serzh Sargsyan expressed conviction that the great number of Indian graduates and alumni of Armenian higher educational institutions is another bridge for friendship between the two nations that should be further strengthened and expanded.
President Sargsyan stated with satisfaction that Honorary Consul Shivkumar Ishwaran was making joint efforts with the Armenian Embassy in India and expressed the hope that their common initiatives would be fruitful.
“We have to be united on the way to overcoming challenges and solving our problems. Our great thinkers used to speak of unity, and it is no secret that according to our people’s belief, we come together when our homeland proves in danger. Today, we need to be as much united in relatively peaceful conditions, because we are facing serious challenges that call for even greater efforts. We have a great source of strength: we are bound by circumstances that make a paramount imperative of the idea of unity, namely Armenia’s independence, Artsakh’s freedom and the power of Diaspora. We keep repeating: Armenia is strong with the Diaspora, and the Diaspora will survive through Armenia,” the President underscored, concluding his remarks.
President Serzh Sargsyan gave an interview to Doordarshan Public Broadcaster on the agenda and the development prospects of Armenian-Indian interstate relations, the potential for trade and economic partnership, Armenian-Indian historical and cultural affinities and a number of other issues.
In conclusion of his working visit to India, President Serzh Sargsyan left for Agra where he visited Taj Mahal, one of India’s best sights.
The President of the Republic of Armenia signed in the Book of Honorable Guests and left a note, stating in part, “Thankful for a warm welcome, I am happy that during my visit to India, I had an opportunity to call at this world-famous and, at the same time, mysterious place. I am fascinated by the architectural majesty of this silver-white temple and the monumental complex, which also saw Armenian masters’ valuable contribution. I am sure that the temple, which is indeed the eighth wonder of the world and a symbol and a sanctuary of eternal love, will be captivating its visitors’ souls for many centuries ahead.”