India, Ukraine to broadbase commercial relations

Last Updated: Mon, Dec 10, 2012 13:20 hrs

New Delhi, Dec 10 (IANS) India and Ukraine have agreed to make commercial relations more broad-based and balanced, and identified fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, information technology, mining and heavy machinery as areas of special attention, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Monday.

In a statement to media after meeting visiting Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych, the prime minister said that bilateral trade has more than doubled in the last five years to nearly $3 billion.

"Both of us noted that our bilateral trade has more than doubled in the last five years to nearly $3 billion, though it is heavily weighted in favour of Ukraine. We agreed to further strengthen our commercial relations and make them more broad-based and balanced," the prime minister said.

"We have identified a number of areas such as fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, information technology, mining and heavy machinery for special attention," he said.

The prime minister said he conveyed to the visiting leader India's interest in visa arrangements to facilitate travel by businessmen, professionals, students and people of the two countries.

He said Yanukovych's visit has come as the two countries celebrate twentieth anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations.

"We have now agreed to forge a comprehensive partnership between our two countries," he said.

The prime minister also stressed on expanding defence relations, noting Ukraine's expertise in defence technologies was well established.

"Our two countries are already undertaking a number of defence cooperation projects. The defence cooperation agreement that we have just signed establishes a new framework for expending this cooperation," Manmohan Singh said.

He said India's linkages with Ukraine in the field of space science date back to the commencement of its space programme.

"I am pleased that we are currently cooperating on advanced space launch vehicles. We have also broadened our scientific cooperation to draw upon the rich science and technology base that both countries possess," he said.

The prime minister said the two countries can learn a great deal from each other on nuclear safety.

"The unfortunate Chernobyl accident has given Ukraine valuable insight and knowledge in dealing with this critical issue. Through the agreement that has just been signed between the nuclear regulatory authorities of both sides, we have agreed to share our experiences in nuclear safety and radiation protection," he said.

He complimented Yanukovych for his initiative to host the Kiev Summit on Safe and Innovative Use of Nuclear Energy in April 2011 on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl accident.

Yanukovych is on a four-day official visit to the country Dec 9-12. He is accompanied by a large official and business delegation.

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