India and Hungary have agreed to double their bilateral trade to USD 1.2 billion within the next three years, with the European nation also reiterating its support to India’s claim for permanent membership in an expanded United Nations Security Council.

This was decided during the ongoing visit of Minister of State for Planning, Parliamentary Affairs, Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Ashwani Kumar to the European Union member nation, a government statement said.

Kumar is currently in Hungary with a seven-member parliamentary delegation as part of the dialogue process between the two countries.

During his meetings, Kumar stated that India needs over USD 1 trillion of investment during the next 5-6 years in the infrastructure sector alone.

“He invited Hungarian companies to participate in development of infrastructure in India. The two sides also agreed to double the level of existing trade at USD 640 million to 1.2 billion in the next three years,” the statement added.

Kumar has held a series of high-level meetings with senior Hungarian leaders, including the country’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Janos Martonyi, Minister for National Economy Gyorgy Matolcsy, Deputy Speaker of the Hungarian National Assembly Sandor Lezsak and the Chairman of the Hungarian—Indian Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group, Zsolt Horvath.

“Both sides agreed to further strengthen the relationship through parliamentary exchanges on a regular basis... The Hungarian Foreign Minister reiterated his government’s support to India’s claim for permanent membership in an expanded UN Security Council,” the statement said.

Kumar expressed appreciation for Hungary’s support for the India-US civil nuclear agreement at the Nuclear Suppliers Group and for expressing solidarity with India in the wake of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.

“The two countries agreed to work closely for the reform of the United Nations to reflect contemporary global realities,” the statement said.

The central European nation has also invited more investment from Indian companies. Indian investments in Hungary are estimated in the range of USD 1 billion and Indian firms employ over 7,000 people there.

The two sides also identified various areas of cooperation, including collaboration on research and development, electronics, water and solid waste management, defence, IT and higher education.

“Collaboration between Bollywood and Hungarian film makers would also be explored. It was agreed to activate the fund of 2 million euros for joint research projects in science and technology,” the statement said.

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