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Patil arrives in Spain, calls for strengthening forces of peace

Madrid (Spain) , April 20, 2009 (ANI): President Pratibha Devi Singh Patil on Monday called for strengthening the forces of peace soon after arriving in Spanish capital Madrid.

Patil, who was received by Spain’s Minister for Science and Innovation, Cristina Garmendia, said she was delighted to be visiting both Spain and Poland, countries with whom India has close relations.

She said that India shares with Spain and Poland common values and principles such as  plural democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedom, tolerance, the determination to fight terrorism and to strengthen democratic values.

Earlier talking to the media onboard her presidential aircraft, the President expressed her determination to curb the terrorism with the support of countries like Spain and Poland.

She said: “Both Spain and Poland were forthright in their condemnation of the Mumbai attacks in November last year. We greatly appreciate that both these countries were forthcoming in expressing strong messages in the global fight against terrorism”.

She said: “My visits to Spain and Poland will also help consolidate our rapidly developing relations with Europe and the European Union. The European Union is a strategic Partner of India and we are in the process of implementing a comprehensive joint action plan”.

This is first state visit by an Indian President to Spain and the fourth by an Indian President to Poland. The last visit to Warsaw was undertaken by late Dr. Shanker Dayal Sharma in October 1996.  India has multi sectoral and useful exchanges in trade matters, investment, science and technology, tourism, culture, defense and renewable energy. Patil would address the Parliaments of both Spain and Poland during her week-long visit.

“I am looking forward to my visit and discussions, and I am confident that following this, we will begin a new phase in strengthening our partnership with these two important European countries along with whom we face common challenges and that common determination to strengthen the forces of peace, security and development,” she said.

The president is being accompanied by a composite business delegation comprising members of CII, FICCI and ASSOCHAM, besides Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Ashwani Kumar.

Spain is a leading power in wind and solar energy, tourism, automobiles, IT, infrastructure, science and technology.

Last year, India’s bilateral trade with Spain was pegged at 4.5 billion dollars.Trade exchanges with Poland exceeded one billion dollars in the same period. Patil said Indian companies are showing growing interest in Poland in areas such as energy, health , information  communication technology and chemicals. (ANI)

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