India and Hungary on Tuesday inked an agreement for oil and gas exploration and decided to strengthen cooperation in the information technology (IT) sector. Both countries also agreed to work for increasing the level of trade to $1 billion by 2012.

An agreement to this effect was reached during the current visit of the Union Commerce and Industry Minister, Anand Sharma, to Hungary. During his meeting with Prime Minister of Hungary Gordon Bajnai and Minister of National Development and Economy, Istvan Varga, Mr. Sharma stressed on the need for both the nations to expand their trade ties. He said the new sectors for cooperation like energy, medical equipment, agro-processing, dairy plants, water management, waste management and waste water purification could provide better opportunities for businesses from both sides.

An agreement for oil exploration was signed between MOL, the official Hungarian Oil Company, and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) in which MOL will be a 35 per cent partner. It was also agreed that the two countries would strengthen cooperation in the IT sector. The India-Hungary S&T fund of 2 million euro annually for the promotion of joint research projects will soon be made operational and bilateral S&T projects would be selected for funding.

Mr. Sharma, who is leading an official and business delegation to Hungary, also addressed the second session of the India-Hungary Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation (JCEC) and Joint Business Commission (JBC) meeting at Budapest. Mr. Sharma also met the leader of opposition and former Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban. A Social Security Agreement was signed between the two countries on the sidelines of the JCEC.

More In: Companies | Business