Orbán in India: Quotes, agreements, talk of history


Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s four-day official visit to India continues in Mumbai today; BBJ below sums up some of the major agreements signed and bon mots exchanged while the PM made the rounds in the capital city of New Delhi.

“India should think of itself as a global power”
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán landed in lots of Indian headlines yesterday when he loftily informed those attending an Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) conference in New Dehli yesterday that their country is in a prime position to become a leader in international affairs.

Citing the country’s “sound economy, large population and highly respected leadership,” Orbán declared that India has “a very important role in global affairs [and] should think of itself not as a regional power but as a global power, and to draw all the consequences that come with that role,” admittedly a “difficult challenge.”

Orbán stated that his government actively supports a permanent seat for India on the United Nations Security Council and that India’s “traditional value system” will buoy the country’s fortunes in future before finally going quasi-philosophical with “Look at what has happened with Europe, which was once considered the most attractive continent on Earth … [India and emergent economies] are coming up and we are falling down.”

– by David Landry

“Great potential for partnerships”
Orbán also addressed a forum of Hungarian and Indian business leaders in New Delhi on Wednesday, stating there was potential for partnerships between Hungarian and Indian businesses in the areas of construction, energy, water and waste management, IT and biotechnology. 

He said Hungary aimed to boost the share of its exports to countries outside of the European Union from 12% at present to 33% by 2018, a goal impossible to carry out without strong relations between Hungary and India.

Orbán said he hoped there would soon be a direct flight between Budapest and Mumbai, and a letter of intent to make a respective amendment to the bilateral agreement was signed later in the day.

He noted that Indian-owned companies employ more than 9,000 people in Hungary.

About 70 Hungarian and several dozen Indian leaders participated at the forum, organized by the Hungarian Investment and Trade Agency (HITA). Among them were representatives of companies in the water management, renewable energy, biotechnology, pharmaceutical and machinery industries.

HITA signed a cooperation agreement with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) at the meeting; the agreement covers exchanges of information, joint business fairs, business development and investment incentives.


Terrorism, trading, defense on table in meet with PM Singh
Yesterday, Orbán met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, with terrorism (somewhat oddly) a prime topic on the agenda.

Singh told local media after the meeting that “Prime Minister Orbán and I exchanged views on a wide range of regional and international issues. We both recognized that terrorism and extremism pose a common threat to modern democratic societies like India and Hungary. We noted the need to create a global normative framework against terrorism and agreed to deepen our cooperation in this regard.”

Singh and Orbán also did a little – or perhaps a lot – of business-side talking as well, with India’s PM stating that “we reviewed the entire spectrum of our relations. We agreed that we can substantially expand our economic relations by leveraging our complementary strengths, India’s large and growing market and Hungary’s membership of the European Union.” – the latter a theme that continues to come up on this visit.

Finally, Singh affirmed that the nations’ cooperative efforts in the defense industry will be broadened, with Hungary seen as a possible “reliable partner in India’s efforts for modernization of the country’s defense.”

–by David Landry

Today’s agenda
Among the items on the prime minister’s agenda today as he visits Mumbai are a meeting with India-based financial investors after a visit to the national stock exchange there.

Some images from the visit are available at the official government website.

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