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Press Statement by Vice President during his official visit to Tallinn (August 21, 2019)

August 21, 2019

Your Excellency Madam Kersti Kaljulaid, President of the Republic of Estonia
Members of the Media,
Sisters and Brothers,

Thank you, Excellency, for your warm words of welcome and generous hospitality extended to me and my delegation. I would like to convey my greetings to people of Estonia for the restoration of Independence Day which was celebrated yesterday.

I am very happy to be visiting Estonia, a successful democracy, a member of the EU and a nation which has been recognised as a digital State. Estonia has remarkable achievments to its credit. Estonia is world leader with respect to many advanced techonologies. India and Estonia share a bilateral relationship based on common values such as democracy, rule of law, pluralism and freedom. Although, there are asymmetries in the size of our nations and our economies, we believe that both India and Estonia share several complementarities which could become the foundation for a mutually beneficial interaction.

India recognised Estonia in 1991 and established diplomatic relations in 1992. However, the connections between our two countries go back in history. An Estonian seafarer visited India in 18th century. Publications about and in Sanskrit were made by the University of Tartu in the early 1800’s.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, our two countries have exchanged official, business and ministerial delegations. We were privileged to receive the then President of Estonia, Mr. Lennart-Georg Meri to India in February 1999.

My discussions with President Kaljulaid this morning were wide-ranging. We reviewed the bilateral relations and potential areas of cooperation. We exchanged views about regional, multilateral global issues and common interest. I congratulate Estonia on their election to the non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council for next year. In this context, we are looking forward to working closely with Estonia in the UN Security Council. President Kaljulaid and I agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation in trade and commerce, especially IT, e-governance, cyber security, innovation and education.

Our bilateral economic engagement, which has grown since the establishment of diplomatic relations and stands at US$ 172 mn per annum holds considerable potential for growth and expansion. There is immense opportunities for partnership between Estonian and Indian companies in programmes such as Digital India, Startup India and Make in India. In this context, I have invited the Estonian government to participate actively in the forthcoming India-Europe 29 Business Forum to be held on 20-21 November in New Delhi which is a focussed event for strengthening cooperation between India and the 29 countries of Europe. I also encourage Estonian companies to consider manufacturing in India, both for the Indian market and for other markets given India’s strategic location in Asia.

During our discussions today, we recognised the importance of building a global order based on respect for international law and national sovereignty. We reiterated our resolve to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We also discussed common concerns such as climate change and global warming. I invited Estonia to join the International Solar Alliance in which India is playing a leading role in order to enable rapid deployment of solar energy globally and to facilitate transfer of technology.

I am looking forward to my engagements with Prime Minister, H.E. Mr. Jüri Ratas, President of Riigikogu,H.E. Mr. Henn Põlluaas and to interacting with corporate sectors of both countries at a Business Forum. I am confident that my interactions with the Estonian leadership will provide a new depth and the momentum to our ongoing bilateral cooperation.

Excellency, you have been a generous and gracious host. I thank you and your government for your kind hospitality and for the wide-ranging interactions arranged for me.

August 21, 2019

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