Milestone visit by Minister of Electronics & IT and Law & Justice Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad to Latvia from September 13-16, 2016

Milestone visit by Minister of Electronics & IT and Law & Justice Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad to Latvia from September 13-16, 2016

Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Cabinet Minister of Electronics & IT and Law & Justice, paid an official visit to Latvia from September 13-16, 2016.  The visit, which was the highest level political visit from India since the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Latvia twenty-five years ago, provided an opportunity for productive and fruitful discussions with the Latvian leadership. Minister Prasad met the Speaker of Saeima, Ms. Inara Murniece, who was acting as the President in the latter’s absence and other important Parliamentarians. He also called on the Latvian Prime Minister, Mr. Maris Kucinskis. He had discussions with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Economics, Mr. Arvils Aseradens, and the Latvian Minister for Justice, Mr. Dzintars Rasnacs. The Chairman of the India-Latvia Friendship Group in the Latvian Saeima, Mr. Atis Lejins, hosted a lunch in honour of the Minister.

During the meetings with the Latvian leaders, the Minister conveyed the serious interest of the Indian government to strengthen ties with Latvia and the other Baltic states. He briefed them on the flagship programmes launched by Prime Minister Modi, such as Make in India, Digital India, Skill India, etc., which had created new opportunities for global engagement and had boosted foreign direct investment into India to unprecedented levels. He also touched on some regional and global issues of importance such as terrorism. He stressed that it was the time for all right-thinking nations to speak in one voice against the global menace of terrorism and to expanding cooperation to tackle it at all relevant international fora. The two sides agreed that there was a need to identify specific areas which held the best potential of the bilateral cooperation and that it would be a good step to have a meeting of a Joint Group of experts to work out a roadmap for enhancing and expanding cooperation, including in sectors of economy, education and tourism.

The Minister extended invitations to the Latvian Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economics to visit India on mutually convenient dates.

Minister Prasad gave an address at an interactive session with some Latvian IT companies at the Riga IT Demo Centre at the Latvian National Library. He also visited the Riga Freeport and took a tour of the port facilities, including the site of a planned warehouse-cum-cold storage facility for Indian agro, pharmaceutical and other products to be built and managed by an Indo-Latvian Joint Venture ‘Bhandar’ with the goal of promoting the export of these products to the Baltic, CIS, EU and Russian markets.

During the visit, Minister Prasad addressed and interacted with the Indian Diaspora at a reception hosted by Ambassador Banashri Bose Harrison, which was attended by about 100 members of the 600-strong Indian community in Latvia.

The visit was highly appreciated by the Latvian leadership as well as the Indian diaspora. It is expected to give a strong boost to the existing close bilateral relations between the two countries.


Stockholm, 19 September 2016

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