Tbilisi (Georgia), Jul 10 (PTI) External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday invited Georgian companies to invest in India, as he called on the country's top leadership, including Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and held comprehensive discussions on boosting bilateral relations and working together to strengthen investment and trade ties.
Jaishankar is on a two-day visit to Georgia, a strategically important country situated at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Western Asia.
Addressing the media at a joint press conference after the meeting, Jaishankar thanked Garbashvili for going the 'extra mile' in helping the Indian students come back home and then return to Georgia for their studies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
'Thank PM @GharibashviliGe for a comprehensive discussion of our bilateral relationship. Agreed that we need to explore its great potential. Appreciated his insights into the region,' Jaishankar said in a tweet.
He said there were big Indian investment projects in Georgia in the hydel, hydroelectricity, steel and power sectors.
“We would very much welcome working together on the investment and trade side. And in turn, I would also mention that in India we have today new projects and schemes to encourage more manufacturing. We hope that Georgian companies who are looking out at Asia could consider that as well,” Jaishankar said in his statement.
The External Affairs Minister also called on President of Georgia Salome Zourabichvili and discussed the progress in the bilateral cooperation, connectivity and Afghanistan.
Jaishankar appreciate the president's 'strong support' for India's relationship.
He also met Economy Minister Natela Turnava and had a 'good conversation with her.
'Impressed with Georgia’s standing in Ease of Doing Business. Noted the Indian investment, trade, education, tourism & other forms of economic presence. Will work to expand it further,' Jaishankar tweeted Earlier, Jaishankar held talks with Georgian Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani and discussed with him bilateral economic cooperation, trade and connectivity.
He also invited his Georgian counterpart to India with a business delegation.
'We discussed economic cooperation, tourism, trade and connectivity. Our relationship is doing well. There are some big Indian projects in Georgia, power projects and steel projects,' he said.
“A lot of Indian tourists come, about 50,000 of them. We have some 8,000 Indian students in Georgia. But in every sector, we felt we can do more. We agreed today that we will work together to find ways of raising it,' Jaishankar said.
He said he invited the vice prime minister to visit India with a business delegation. “In India, people need to know about Georgia, especially about their high ranking in the ease of doing business,' he said.
He expressed hope that his visit to Georgia, which is the first by an Indian foreign minister to the country, will be the opening of a new chapter in the relationship.
'I think our very excellent relationship will even go to a higher level,' he said, adding 'It was a very good discussion'.
'We agreed that for all the progress that we have made, the potential to do more is very much there. And that potential would only be realized if our two Governments make a very focused effort to do so,' Jaishnakar said.
He said the two sides had a discussion on connectivity and noted that today connectivity is very much key to competitiveness, it is a key to reliability and resilience in a globalised world. 'And whether it is land, maritime or air connectivity, I think we have agreed that it is in our mutual interest to promote it and to do so expeditiously,' he said.
'So all in all I am very confident that my visit, my discussions have helped to chart a more ambitious roadmap for the relationship,' Jaishankar said.
Jaishankar also met the Indian community representatives in Georgia and appreciated their hard work in the agriculture sector.
'As I begin the day, nice to meet Indian Community representatives from Tsnori, Khaketi. Their hard work in the agriculture sector has earned a good name. Enterprising Indians are our global bridge,' he said.
There are many farmers from India who have invested in the agriculture sector in Georgia.
'Also congratulated Pravasi Bharatiya Samman awardee Darpan Prasher,' he said.
Prasher is the Vice President at the Indian Chamber of Commerce in Georgia. PTI NSA MRJ AKJ MRJ