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Alexander Lukashenko wants to use Belarus-India decades-long ties

A meeting between the Indian and Belarusian leaders was held in June 2015. Back then the two presidents agreed to increase the volume of trade and signed a roadmap for cooperation noting several major contracts. Indian partners have again visited the Belarusian capital this week. This time, the delegation was headed by the Minister of Industry and Trade.

Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus President:
Naturally, we don't have any closed topics in our relations. Nothing prevents us from cooperating in any direction. And I want to reiterate this commitment. We are ready for open cooperation with your country. Despite the different sizes of India and Belarus, we have much to offer India. And if you have interest, we will show you all that we are capable of. And if, after that, you have interest in some subject or matter, we are ready to cooperate with you to implement projects in a particular area of cooperation. So please bear in mind that you have come to a friendly country.

India is the largest country in South Asia. In terms of GDP, the country ranks third in the world after the US and China.

Diplomatic relations between Minsk and Delhi were established over 20 years ago. During the Soviet Union times, Belarus supplied to India MTZ tractors. Now the sides are in talks to establish a powerful industrial center of the region, where Belarusian machinery will be assembled, maintained and sold. India is ready to also invest in the Belarusian energy sector, potash industry, and pharmaceuticals.

India is one of the leading countries in the production of pharmaceuticals. Indian drugs are well represented in Belarus. For example, the drug is in high demand among hypertensive patients. Well-known Travisil, which is recommended for colds, is made here in Belarus using Indian raw materials.

All in all, more than 100 kinds of medicines are made in Belarus according to Indian technologies. Soon the two countries will launch three joint ventures in this area.

In 2014, trade turnover between the two countries amounted to slightly more than $400 million, while during the current six months it already stands at more than $300 million.

Belarusians know Indian goods well, not only medications, but also tea, coffee, and fish. Indian fairs are often held in Belarus, too, with fine pearls and textiles being in particular demand.

Svetlana Agarwal, singer:
I like natural Indian cosmetics. I have long been using them, which is why I'm so beautiful and young!

Svetlana Agarwal is our today's guide of this oriental bazaar. The Belarusian is married to an Indian businessman, is fluent in Hindi, and, moreover, is the only singer in Belarus who sings Indian songs.

She usually rehearses at home. In India, the Belarusian singing in Hindi is a real pop diva. In Bollywood the best music video markers worked on her project. Svetlana knows much about eastern attire and ornaments.

Svetlana Agarwal, singer:
For an Indian woman it's ugly and indecent to appear in public without a bracelet. Indians have a very positive attitude towards foreigners, Europeans, and in particular to Belarusians. Therefore, I think they understand our culture. They will take it with respect.

Indian culture is not that incomprehensible and mysterious for Europeans either! Millions of people around the world practice yoga and belly dance nowadays. 

Incidentally, ordinary Europeans are invited to play bit parts in Indian films. This is what happened to Minsk resident Dmitry Kiselev when he was in India.

Dmitry Kiselyov:
Namaste! Hello, Belarus, this is India speaking! We are in the Indian Himalayas at an altitude of 3,500 meters above sea level. India is a paradise for seekers of unusual adventures. And during the next couple of days we will conquer the world's highest road pass which height is 5,600 meters.

This resident of Minsk travels Indian roads on a motorcycle. He has already managed to see the Himalayas, and the origins of the sacred Ganges River. Dmitry plans to shoot a series of movies about his moto-adventures, a kind of answer to Bollywood.

Alexander Lukashenko wants to use Belarus-India decades-long ties