India to promote bilateral ties with Spain in all fields : President Patil

April 21st, 2009 - 7:05 pm ICT by ANI  

Pratibha Patil By Ravinder Singh Robin

Madrid, Apr 21 (ANI): President Pratibha Patil on Tuesday said India will seek to promote ties with Spain in all fields, including political, trade and investment, cooperation in mutually beneficial areas like renewable energy, agriculture and tourism.

In response to the welcome remarks by President of Congress, here, Patil said that bilateral relations between India and Spain have always been cordial and have gained momentum in recent years.

“We whole-heartedly support this trend. My visit to Spain is an expression of the importance that India attaches to a strong relationship with Spain,” the President said.

Informing that the bilateral relationship between India and Spain has been growing in all spheres - political, commercial and cultural, she said, “Both trade and investment flows need to be further bolstered. It is for this reason that I have a business delegation accompanying me. People-to-people contacts between us are increasing through more frequent travels between the two countries.”Trade has grown five times to over US 4.5 billion dollars in 2008 from US 900 million dollars in 2000.

Terming the contribution of parliamentary institutions in this endeavour ‘crucial’, she said she was glad to learn that parliamentary delegations from both sides have exchanged visits.

“The President of your Senate had led a delegation to India about two years ago and our Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Deputy Chairman of the Upper House had visited Spain shortly before that. Such parliamentary exchanges enable a better understanding of each other’s political processes. They need to be enhanced,” she added.

The President later said that both India and Spain are democratic states.

“The values that are the bedrock of our parliamentary system are tolerance, respect for diversity, freedom of expression and equality before the law. There is full participation of all citizens in the political, economic and cultural lives of our countries. Our representative institutions derive their power and authority from the people,” she said. Giving example of the biggest democratic exercise, she said that we have had 14 national elections to Parliament since our country became independent in 1947, adding that “We are currently conducting the 15th general elections and would elect members to the Lok Sabha. Our election process is gigantic in scale.”

The President said that the democratic system in India has also been strengthened at the grassroots level.

“3.2 million persons out of which 1.2 million are women have been elected as representatives to institutions of local self-government in the villages and municipalities of India. This is by far the largest number of elected representatives ever in history, or anywhere in the contemporary world,” she added. (ANI)

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