Belarusian president to discuss cooperation in India

NEW DELHI, April 16 (RIA Novosti) - Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, who arrived in India with a large business delegation Sunday, has launched the official part of his visit Monday, which marks the 15th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations between the two states.

Apart from official negotiations, the Belarusian delegates will attend the fourth meeting of the Indian-Belarusian Business Council, which will discuss prospects of cooperation in the transport, electronics, mechanical engineering, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment industries, as well as fertilizers supplies and production.

"Technological cooperation is a priority in our ties with India, with the production of microelectronics, measuring devices, laser technologies and alternative energy supplies being the most promising sphere," Lukashenko said in an interview with the Indian press last week. "We intend to repeatedly urge Indian political, business and scientific communities to implement agreements more efficiently."

In 2005 trade between Belarus and India more than doubled year-on-year, to $243.4 million, with Belarusian exports standing at $197.5 million. Belarus mostly exports potassium fertilizers to India, while exports of other commodities amounted to $31.2 million in 2005, or 253.2% of 2004.

At the third meeting of the Belarusian-Indian intergovernmental commission in July 2006 agreements were reached to develop long-term cooperation involving BelAz, a producer of open-cast mining equipment, and Belshina, a key supplier of tires and one of the largest production enterprises in Europe.

Contracts were also signed to deliver mechanical engineering products to India and to enhance partnership at the level of chambers of commerce and industry and between the two countries' businesses.