Indian Ambassador To Armenia: Yerevan And New Delhi Are Going To Imp


ArmInfo’s interview with Ambassador of India to Armenia Suresh Babu

by Marianna Lazarian

Thursday, January 23, 18:15

What do you think about the current level of Armenian-Indian relations?

India and Armenia have successfully completed over two decades
of diplomatic relations since 1991. Ties between our two countries
though date back to centuries but their contemporary relationship had
started in 1992. In the last twenty plus years, both countries have
proved to be close friends and partners not only at the Government
level but also at the people to people level. India and Armenia
support each other at the international and multilateral levels
to the extent possible. This relationship is non-prescriptive and
covers almost all aspects i.e. political, cultural, and economic,
education, science, trade and development. In last few years, we have
had a number of high level bilateral exchanges. The successful visit
by a high level Parliamentary delegation from Armenia to India in
December 2013 led by H.E. Mr. Hovik Abrahmyan, the Chairman of the
National Assembly, was the latest high level contact. Prior to this,
the Armenian National Assembly hosted the visit of a Goodwill Indian
Parliamentarian delegation to Armenia led by the Minister of State
for Parliamentary Affairs in October last year. During both these
visits, the delegations were received by the highest leadership in
both countries.

This is a testimony to the fact that both countries enjoy excellent
political ties. Besides these visits, we also exchanged visits at the
level of senior officials at the Government level. They included the
visit of Deputy Foreign Minister of Armenia to India for Political
Consultations and for the Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) meeting
in September 2013.

What are the priorities of the Armenian-Indian cooperation for
the moment?

During the recent interactions, both sides have agreed to sustain
the momentum generated in the last few years at various levels and
to elevate our cooperation to new levels. Several visits are under
consideration for this year and these visits will be of political,
education, culture and economic in nature. Given the low level
of bilateral trade, one of the priorities for this year will be
mutual endeavour to further augment the bilateral trade and economic

What new projects are our countries planning in the IT sector?

Information & Communication Technologies is among core sectors of
economy for both India and Armenia. Both countries possess well trained
and skilled IT personnel. As a first concrete step in this sphere,
we had jointly set up an ICT Centre of Excellence in Yerevan in 2011
which is equipped with an Indian Super Computer ‘Param’. Since then,
the Centre has been functioning effectively as a revenue making
model by catering to needs of Armenian consumers. Over 70 schools
in the Tavush region have been equipped with Indian computer labs
in 2012. Both sides are currently in the process of replicating the
Tavush model in one more region in Armenia. ” A 12 member delegation
from the Indian IT Companies visited Armenia in December 2013 to
explore the strengths of the Armenian IT sector. During the visit,
a B2B session was held which also included visits to various Armenian
IT companies and individual business meetings.”

Are you satisfied with the current level of Armenian-Indian ties in the
health care sector. What projects are you considering in pharmaceutics?

Healthcare is one of the priority sectors of bilateral cooperation.

Large numbers of Indian students are receiving medical education in
the Yerevan State Medical University. A delegation of experts from the
Medical Council of India visited the YSMU in 2013 and is believed to
be satisfied with the education facilities offered there. A couple of
bilateral cooperation documents in the Healthcare sector are in the
pipeline for conclusion. In this context, both Indian and Armenian
sides are in the process of concluding a bilateral MoU for executing a
‘Telemedicine’ project in Armenia. It may be noted that a large number
of Armenian companies are engaged in cooperation for promotion of
Indian pharmaceutical products in the Armenian market. Considering
the growing interest in the Armenian healthcare and pharmaceutical
sectors, a large delegation of Indian Pharma companies is expected
to visit Yerevan in early February this year to study and explore
the potential for trading, setting up joint production and R&D.

India is among the countries with well-organized Armenian communities.

What role do Armenians play in your country’s social and political

Similar to a large number of countries in the world, India is also
privileged to be the home for Armenian community. Armenians are no
strangers for the Indian society for over three centuries. Volumes
may be written on the Armenian presence in India. In modern times,
Kolkata and Chennai host the presence of the Armenian community
consisting of over 35 families and which have penetrated into the
Indian social life. There is a functioning Church, School in Kolkata
where not only Armenians but also others do worship and study. Besides,
there are numbers of Armenian nationals either studying in various
educational institutions of India or married to Indian nationals.