India and Hungary are all prepared to ink a pact to enhance co-operation in the field of traditional Indian medicines and will sign an memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this regard during the visit of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, which begins today (Wednesday).

The signing of the MoU is seen as a major boost to exports of Indian traditional medicines as at present India is facing a lot of regulatory issues in the European Union (EU) markets. Co-operation with Hungary, which is an EU member, could possibly facilitate market access for this sector to the 27-nation EU bloc.

India-Hungary joint commission on economic co-operation on Tuesday signed an agreement between the two countries in the field of traditional medicine. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) Secretary Saurabh Chandra and Hungary State Secretary for Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations Peter Szijjarto attended the joint commission meeting.

The proposed MoU will seek to strengthen bilateral co-operation in this field by enhancing the use of traditional system of medicine, promoting mutual exchange of information, experts, scientists, practitioners and students.

India has also suggested setting up of AYUSH (ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy) academic chairs in Hungarian Universities. The EU’s Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive makes it compulsory for traditional medicine companies to show 30 years of traditional uses, including 15 years in EU. India has, in the past, raised concerns over restrictions in the European Union to traditional medicines and chemical industries.

For co-operation in science and technology, both sides agreed to establish a new Indo-Hungarian Strategic Research Fund with contribution of 2 million euro a year each. As per estimates, India exports about $1 billion of traditional medicines, which is a small fraction of more than $80 billion of exports taking place worldwide.

(This article has been corrected for typographical error)

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