Belarusian-Indian Business Forum

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The potential of Belarus and India aloows advancing trade and investment cooperation to a higher level, President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the opening of the Belarusian-Indian Business Forum on 4 June.

President of India Pranab Mukherjee who is in Belarus on an official visit also took part in the forum.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said that India is a reliable partner of Belarus in the Asian region. Trade and economic cooperation with this country is increasingly vibrant and productive.

The President of Belarus pointed out recent sustainable growth trends in the bilateral trade of the two countries. At the same time, Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that a rather small trade turnover does not match the countries’ potential.

“Therefore, during this forum and other events we need to agree to double this trade turnover next year. We have all tools for that,” the Belarusian leader is convinced.

In his words, the Belarusian-Indian economic relations are gradually shifting from simple trade to industrial cooperation which is of interest for the both sides. Representative offices of large Belarusian enterprises have been opened in India. The sides are mulling over the prospects of setting up joint assembly facilities. Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that Belarus can take part in the modernization of Indian oil and coal extraction capacities.

The Belarusian head of state said he believes that Belarus and India could step up cooperation in the production sector, power engineering, logistics, communications, bio and nanotechnologies. The Belarusian side is also interested in developing joint production in spheres like pharmaceutics, information and communication technologies.

“We will create such enterprises in the industrial park Great Stone,” said the Belarus President. He invited representatives of Indian business circles to get more familiar with the potential of the park and the country as a whole.

“By starting manufacturing in Belarus, you will be able to enjoy unhindered access to the market of the Eurasian Economic Union and will be able to explore markets of the European Union,” noted the Belarusian head of state. “You understand perfectly well that there are no better logistics options for working in the two unions because Belarus is geographically located in the very center of these economic giants.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that Belarus places emphasis on cooperation at the level of regions. In his opinion, such interaction will allow filling the bilateral trade and economic ties with new content. The President added that direct contacts between Belarus and constituent entities of the Russian Federation can be quoted as an example.

The Belarusian head of state said he hoped that the business forum would be useful for all the participants and would result in the emergence of new, interesting, and mutually beneficial projects.

“In our complicated time very many businessmen and heads of major enterprises speak about more profitable and preferential lending and financing,” noted the Belarusian leader. “As a result of our latest visits and agreements in the Asian region, with the People’s Republic of China, Pakistan, India, earlier with Vietnam and other countries there are no problems with loans and these are very lucrative loans.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded that during the latest visit of China President Xi Jinping to Belarus the sides reached an agreement on lending $7 billion to Belarus in addition to the previously borrowed $15 billion with a low interest rate. During the meeting with the Belarusian head of state on 3 June the India President remarked that the Indian government supports Indian and Belarusian companies and will provide preferential loans to them.

The Belarusian head of state underlined that the money should be spent on effective projects. Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that he had decided against separating state enterprises from private ones in this instance. “All of them have the right to get these loans for the sake of developing manufacturing,” he said.

“This is why, I’d say, it is the first time in the history of Belarus that such unique conditions for business operation have been enabled. Projects are what matters. Frankly speaking, we don’t have enough projects today. Because they now have to face tougher requirements: these days it is not a good idea to manufacture goods just to store them in warehouses. If a project is good, we will support it, will finance it,” noted the Belarusian leader.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Belarus means a lot. “A big group of leading businessmen from India has arrived in Belarus. India is one of the world’s leaders in economic development; it is a giant empire with colossal opportunities and resources. What else do Belarusian businessmen need to develop their business and work efficiently? Belarusian and Indian companies will always get support if necessary,” the Belarusian leader said.

The head of state assured that Belarus will do its best to create favorable conditions for Indian businessmen here. “Belarus will create conditions for your companies as for the fest friends,” the Belarusian leader said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said that Indian and Belarusian specialists maintain productive cooperation in the renovation of Grodno CHP plant No. 2. “If they work as productively in the future as they do now, you will have no concerns about the projects in Belarus, we will always support such projects. They mean high quality, reliability and excellent results. We welcome such projects in the center of Europe. We will always support them,” the Belarusian head of state stressed.

“At the same time, our companies which will come to India, will work for the benefit of India and the Indian people will do everything to make joint products which will be popular with Indian consumers. You can sure of that,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The business forum attended by the two heads of state also included a solemn ceremony to unveil a commemorative sign dedicated to the cooperation between Indian and Belarusian specialists in the renovation of Grodno CHP plant No. 2.