Belgrade: Underlining the large potential for India-Serbia trade and investment, President Droupadi Murmu has urged to "take advantage" of the economic partnership between the two countries.
President Murmu, who is in Serbia in the last leg of her two-nation visit, was addressing the India-Serbia Business Forum in Belgrade on Thursday. Murmu was also called on by Serbian PM Ana Brnabic.
At the outset of her address, she thanked President Aleksander Vucic for making this event possible.
Murmu said, "India and Serbia have had close and friendly relations since the days of the Non-Aligned Movement. It is now time to build on this, and strengthen our trade and economic partnership."
She also highlighted the growing Indian economy saying that it continues to perform well and is one of the fastest-growing major economies in the world. "It is the fifth-largest economy and is on its way to becoming the third-largest before the end of this decade. We have seen significant success in the auto and auto-components sector, health care, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, renewable energy, textiles & apparel, space, information technology, telecom, fintech, and financial services," Murmu added.
The President then spoke on the growing digital capability of India with IT parks and electronic cities mushrooming across the country.
Murmu said, "This rapid growth in digital infrastructure has put India at the forefront in terms of technological innovation. Be it the availability of day-to-day services through mobile and online platforms or cashless transactions, India continues to achieve digital transformation in every field."
She added that India has the third largest start-up ecosystem in the world, with over 100 unicorns. In 2022, the total FDI inflow into India was around USD 77 billion.
Murmu also expressed happiness about the Serbian economy recovering from the Covid pandemic and its external trade of goods rising by 17 per cent in 2002.
"I am told that Serbia has also attracted more than half of the FDI received by the Western Balkans region since 2018. Road and rail investments are also taking place at a healthy pace, to integrate Serbia into wider European networks. Yours is a country of intelligent, hard-working people driven by innovation and ideas. Serbia can become an effective gateway for Indian companies to access broader markets in Europe and Eurasia," she further said.
The President said that she was also aware that Serbia is looking for hard-working and skilled workers and professionals from overseas, to help meet its workforce requirements.
Earlier in the day, Murmu met her Serbian counterpart. In the meeting, the two agreed to deepen the India-Serbia partnership in all spheres, including economic and business ties. "The entrepreneurs present in this room today can become the driving force of dynamism between our two countries," Murmu said.
She concluded her address by expressing confidence in India-Serbia trade growing by at least USD 1 billion even though bilateral trade between India and Serbia is at present modest at around 320 million.