India and Belarus on Wednesday decided to work together on defence and security issues as President Pranab Mukherjee met his Belarusian counterpart and agreed on a 17-point road map aimed at strengthening mutual trust and confidence.
The President, who arrived here on Tuesday night on a two-day visit, was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the majestic Palace of Independence by Belarusian President A.G. Lukashenko.
After the ceremony, Mr. Mukherjee had a one-to-one meeting with Mr. Lukashenko.
During the talks, the President discussed a host of issues, including increasing trade ties, besides boosting co-operation in mining, education and heavy machinery.
Later, the two Presidents witnessed signing of several agreements and Memorandums of Understandings, including agreements between the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and the Ministry of Finance, the Bureau of Indian Standards as well as between the Prasar Bharati and the National State Television.
The agreements included the road map for strengthening mutual trust and having a strong commitment to develop multifaceted and long term co-operation.
The two countries will work for full implementation of the MoU on defence-related technical cooperation and to develop a legal framework for security cooperation
The road map will enhance high-level and Ministerial contact, optimise the structure of trade, increase trade turnover, create favourable conditions for enhanced direct investment and promote practical cooperation between financial institutions.
Science & technology cooperation Under the agreement, the two countries will enhance coordination in science and technology, energy sector, metals and mining, potash fertilizers, give boost to raw material in textile sector, extend cooperation by Belarus in modernisation of public electric transport system in India, agriculture and agro procession.
Exchange of students and promotion of tourism also figured in the agreements.
This is the first presidential visit from India to Belarus, a landlocked East European country.
The Belarus President had visited India twice in 1997 and 2007.
During his visit, Mr. Mukherjee will unveil a statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the Belarusian State University where he will be awarded an honorary degree.