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India-Austria ties to get new thrust

The upcoming prime ministerial visit from India to Austria will mark a pivotal moment in the relationship between New Delhi and Vienna, as it will lead to revitalisation of ties between the two nations, writes Ranjit Kumar

The first ever visit of an Indian Prime Minister in four decades to Austria would rekindle India’s relations with the European nation. The historical significance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit on 9-10 July cannot be understated.
 
Prime Minister Modi’s decision to include Austria in his first bilateral foreign trip after beginning his third term in office speaks volumes about the importance he places on strengthening diplomatic relations with the European nation.
 
Furthermore, the timing of this visit is particularly noteworthy, as both countries are commemorating the 75th anniversary of the establishment of their bilateral relations, adding an extra layer of significance to the visit.


 
Strong and steadfast relations
 
The relationship between India and Austria dates back to the early years of India’s independence, with Vienna holding a deep appreciation for the political support extended by New Delhi during crucial moments in history.
 
India’s intervention in the negotiations with the Soviet Union on the State Treaty of Austria in 1953 played a pivotal role in securing Austria’s independence in 1955, a gesture that has not been forgotten by the Austrian people.
 
Over the years, the two countries have maintained strong and steadfast relations, with Austria emerging as a respected voice in both European and global politics.
 
With Vienna serving as the headquarters for various international organizations, including the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations, Austria’s neutral status and diplomatic influence have further solidified its position on the world stage.

The historical context of high-level visits between India and Austria highlights the significance of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
 
From Indian President, K R Narayanan’s first visit in 1999 to the recent interactions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Austrian leaders, there has been a consistent effort to strengthen ties.
 
The visits by then President Pratibha Patil in 2011 and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1971 and 1983, along with the foundational visit by then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru in 1955, underscore the long-standing relationship between India and Austria.
 
The recent interactions between Prime Minister Modi and Austrian leaders, including the current Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, demonstrate the commitment to enhancing bilateral cooperation.


 
Significance of prime ministerial visit
 
With India being a key player in the global economy and a strategic partner of the European Union, closer ties between India and Austria hold immense potential. 

As both countries navigate the post-COVID world, the shared goal of strengthening and diversifying relations reflects a mutual understanding of the importance of collaboration in addressing regional and global challenges.
 
The upcoming visit by PM Modi signifies a new chapter in India-Austria relations, emphasizing the need for continued dialogue and cooperation between the two nations.
 
In the past few years, the two countries have been actively engaging at a senior level, culminating in the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 9-10. Regular meetings between the foreign ministers of both nations have been instrumental in fostering this relationship.

The focus of Modi’s visit will be on business, innovation, and technology, with particular attention to the recent launch of the Startup Bridge project, which has already seen 20 Indian startups participating in a major event in Vienna.
 
Additionally, both countries are exploring opportunities for technology cooperation, with the aim of fostering innovation and entrepreneurship through the Startup Bridge initiative.
 
The economic ties between India and Austria are robust, with over 30 to 40 large Austrian companies already established in India across various sectors such as infrastructure, tunnelling, and track laying.
 
Furthermore, both countries are keen on exploring collaboration in key areas such as clean technologies and renewables, with Indian businesses looking to learn from Austrian expertise in these sectors.
 
 The bilateral trade of USD 2.9 billion between the two nations is balanced, with India exporting a wide range of goods including electronic products, apparel, textiles, footwear, vehicles, railway parts, rubber articles, and mechanical appliances.

Vienna [Austria], Jan 2 (ANI): External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar with Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg during a meeting in Vienna, on Monday. (ANI Photo)


 
Conclusion
 
The Austrian European and International affairs minister Alexander Schallenberg who visited New Delhi last March has emphasized the significant business opportunities for enhancing bilateral trade and investments, highlighting the reliability and long-term commitment of Austrian partners in fostering a mutually beneficial relationship.

Additionally, the presence of over 500 Indian students and a 31,000-strong Indian diaspora in Austria further underscores the depth of the relationship between the two countries.
 
In order to enhance the bilateral relations between the two nations, an Indo-Austrian joint commission was established back in 1983.
 
Currently, the collaboration between India and Austria is advancing with the support of approximately 20 memorandums of understanding covering various areas such as air services, promotion and protection of investments, infrastructure cooperation in railways, health, science and technology, agriculture, and technology cooperation in shipping and ports.
 
The Austrians have already witnessed India’s scientific capabilities when they successfully launched two Austrian Satellites in 2013. With the upcoming visit of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Vienna, it is anticipated that both countries will sign multiple agreements to further solidify the ties of economic and diplomatic cooperation between them.
 
(The writer is a senior journalist and strategic affairs analyst; views expressed here are his own)
– India News Network

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