Vice President Venkaiah Naidu invoked former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in his address to the Serbian Parliament Saturday, recalling the days of the launch of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and pitched for greater cooperation between the two countries. In his hour-long address at a special session of the National Assembly of Serbia in Belgrade on the International Day of Democracy, Naidu, who arrived here on Friday, said relations between India and Serbia were deeply rooted in history, an official release said.
“From the early days of Independent India, both countries laid great emphasis on NAM and contributed much to creation of a new and democratic world order, particularly for the post-colonial third world that challenged the concept of bipolar world. The changes in global geo-politics now again give us an opportunity to work together for mutual benefit and for sharing prosperity with others,” he said.
Highlighting the importance of democracy for participatory development, he quoted Nehru’s words in his 1961 address in the Serbian National Assembly. Nehru, he said, had given a call “for building in our countries societies where freedom is real. Freedom is essential because freedom will give us strength and enable us to build prosperous societies”.
During his visit, Naidu held detailed discussions on a range of bilateral and multilateral issues with President Aleksandar Vucic, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and Speaker of the National Assembly of Serbia Maja Gojkovic, besides addressing a business forum.
At a joint media briefing with Naidu, Vucic complimented the Indian political leadership for achieving economic results. He said, “India is witnessing exceptional economic progress. We are happy for the country who has been our longtime friend and well-wisher.”
Naidu sought Serbia’s support to India in the next month’s elections to the UN Human Rights Council.
According to the official communication, Vucic assured the country’s support to India at all forums like the United Nations, Nuclear Suppliers Group etc. He stressed that Serbia was keen to engage with India on agriculture, pharmacy, IT, generic medicines and willing for exchanges on military technology and military education.
Both countries also signed two agreements during Naidu’s visit — one on Plant Protection and Quarantine, and the other on Revised Air Services.