STA, 16 September 2019 - President Borut Pahor and Indian President Ram Nath Kovind reaffirmed their commitment to boost cooperation and friendship between their countries, as they met in Ljubljana on Monday. They also stressed the importance of global partnership and multilateralism. Pahor accepted an invitation to India.
Pahor said during the talks with Kovind, the first Indian president to visit the country, that India is the largest country in the world and one of the biggest democracies, where the implementation of the rule of law and human rights could be an example to other countries.
To je prvi obisk predsednika Republike Indije v Republiki Sloveniji in kot takšen pomeni odlično priložnost za dodaten zagon že tako dobrih odnosov med državama in za poglobitev političnega dialoga ter gospodarskega sodelovanja. V okviru obiska bo potekal poslovni forum. pic.twitter.com/Q8OJXlbWjk— Borut Pahor (@BorutPahor) September 16, 2019
The pair reviewed bilateral and multilateral cooperation, reaffirming their commitment to multilateralism. While agreeing that it needed some changes, they stressed that it represented a safe environment for humanity to tackle the most sensitive and important challenges, from climate change to terrorism.
Discussing terrorism, the presidents exchanged views on the situation in Kashmir. Kovinda said terrorism was one of the biggest challenges of humanity and the presidents agreed that the whole world would have to join forces to defeat it.
Kovinda stressed that the fight against cross-border terrorism was very important for India.
The Indian president also pointed to the historical ties between Slovenia and India, saying they were based on shared cultural and democratic values.
He added that he and Pahor had agreed to strengthen bilateral ties and global partnership.
The presidents signed a statement after the meeting, calling for the strengthening of economic ties. Pahor noted that the two countries posted half a billion euro in goods trade a year and that trade was rising at a 30% rate.
Kovind is accompanied by a business delegation, featuring representatives of 20 Indian companies who will attend a Slovenian-Indian business forum in the afternoon. The two presidents will address the forum.
Kovind said he was pleasantly surprised by Slovenia's technological progress and its achievements in the international arena. It has become a pioneer in environment and forests conservation, he said.
According to the president, India will have more than five billion inhabitants by 2025. The country would like to cooperate with Slovenia in science, know-how and innovation to support this growth.
Predsednik Republike Slovenije Borut Pahor in gospa Tanja Pečar danes in jutri na prvem uradnem obisku v Sloveniji gostita predsednika Republike Indije Rama Natha Kovinda s soprogo. pic.twitter.com/jZCbNCiKuo— Borut Pahor (@BorutPahor) September 16, 2019
On the sidelines of the presidential visit, several agreements were signed between the two countries' governments and companies.
Government representatives signed a programme of cooperation in culture, arts, education, sports and media for the 2019-2014 period, and a programme of cooperation in science and technology in 2020-2022.
The Slovenian Institute for Standardization and the Bureau of Indian Standards signed an agreement on technical cooperation in standardisation.
The Indian president believes the agreements signed today will enhance the cultural and economic ties between the two countries.
Kovind will conclude the two-day official visit on Tuesday, when he and his spouse visit the lakeside resort of Bled.
Pahor noted that he had hosted two Indian prime ministers, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi, and that the ties between India and Slovenia go back to the period before Slovenia's independence.
President Kovind led delegation-level talks with President @BorutPahor of Slovenia. Both leaders discussed cooperation in high-tech, clean technology, robotics and Artificial Intelligence. pic.twitter.com/srRszXRsgp— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) September 16, 2019
He also stressed the importance of Mahatma Gandhi for humanity, as India celebrates the 150th anniversary of his birth this year.
Kovinda expressed gratitude that Slovenia was nurturing this heritage, including by issuing a special stamp next month.
He also congratulated Slovenia on initiating World Bee Day, which New Delhi has also backed.
Kovinda met Prime Minister Marjan Šarec at Ljubljana Caste this afternoon and is also scheduled to meet parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan.
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