High level Indian visit to Vilnius

On Thursday a high level delegation from India arrived in Vilnius ever since Lithuania and India established diplomatic relations 25 years ago, ties between the two nations have been warmer and friendlier than it is often acknowledged, according to India's Minister of State for External Affairs Mobashar Jawed Akbar who held a meeting on Thursday with Lithuania's chief diplomat Linas Linkevičius.
Indian Minister Mobashar Jawed Akbar in Vilnius

"This relation is not just built on the mutual confidence that friends must possess, but is also built on the strong foundation of shared values. We all believe in democracy, we believe in pluralism, in humanism, and we believe that the true objective of any nation is to create prosperity for our people," Mr Akbar said during a joint press conference on Thursday, adding that peace was an essential condition for people to prosper, hence the two nations' cooperation in areas of peacekeeping and fight against terrorism was of utter importance.

Mr Linkevičius, the Lithuanian Foreign Minister, noted that his country and the world's second most populous nation enjoyed close economic and cultural ties that were much older than the quarter-of-a-century-old diplomatic relations.

Lithuania and India have important things to learn from one another in areas like IT, life sciences, lazer technology, chemical and textile industries. Mr. Akbar emphasised that Lithuania's hospitals could benefit greatly from India's medical facility industry which could produce quality equipment for one tenth of the cost compared to Western producers.

Both ministers welcomed the fact that Indian students were rdiscovering Lithuania as an academic destinations. Some 800 Indian students currently study at Lithuanian universities, according to Mr. Linkevičius, who noted that this was an important investment into the future. The Indian minister added that his country, too, boasted quality education institutions and graduates who occuppied top positions in many of the Silicon Valley's companies.

Lithuania opened an embassy in Delhi in 2008, whereas Vilnius only hosts a honorary consulate of India. That, however, can change very soon. Minister Akbar said that his government was seriously considering to open an embassy in Lithuania. However, the timeline for that is too early to speculate on, he added.

"What has been achieved is nothing compared to what will be achieved", - Mr Akbaras summarized his vision for the future of the Lithuanian-Indian ties.

"There is one significant thing in common between our two nations. Both nations are optimist about their economic future. Both nations have people who are dteremined to move ahead and cate prosperity for their people," Mr Akbaras said. "This is a spirit which is not found everywhere." The visit will continue with meetings scheduled with several Lithuanian Ministers and a visit to Vilnius University.

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