Serbia Has Always Been an Important Partner for India

Our bilateral relations are based on mutual respect for each other

Serbia and India have a longtime partnership that resulted in exceptional bilateral relations. The best indicator of this is the fact that in 2023 both countries celebrated the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Recently, in September 2023, H.E. Mrs. Shubhdarshini Tripathi assumed charge as the Ambassador of India to Serbia. H.E. Mrs. Shubhdarshini Tripathi took her time to sit down with us for an interview and discuss topics such as her arrival to Serbia, the Indian position on Serbia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, but the future and possible potential of their cooperation as well.

First, we would like to wish you a warm welcome to Serbia as the Ambassador of India. Is this your first time visiting our country?

Yes, this is for the first time that I visited this beautiful country in September 2023 to take up my assignment as the Ambassador of the Republic of India to the Republic of Serbia.

There is immense goodwill and mutual respect between our leadership and people


What is the Indian position on Serbia, especially regarding Serbia being a small and far country?

Well, Serbia has all along been an important partner for India and there has been long standing and time-tested friendship between the two countries. As founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement, both the countries hold converging views on many global issues. I think geographical distance hardly matters between friendly countries with similar world views. There is immense goodwill and mutual respect between our leadership and people.

Before Serbia re-introduced visa to Indian citizens, there were many Indian tourists here and we even planned to connect our countries with a direct air link. But now, it seems unfeasible. What is your stand on that?

The decision to re-introduce visa for Indian citizens last year has indeed impacted the flow of tourists and business persons from India. We have been taking up the issue with the Serbian authorities for fast-tracking the visa applications from Indian nationals so that tourists and business persons do not face any hardship and inordinate delay in getting Serbian visa. Hopefully, the issue would be resolved soon.

How can you see the future of our relations? Do you have some goals to be reached in the near future?

As I said earlier, our bilateral relations are based on historic goodwill and mutual respect for each other. The State visit of our President Mrs. Droupadi Murmu to Serbia in June last year reaffirmed the strong relations between the two countries. Areas of mutual interest to deepen our bilateral relations were deliberated upon. In November 2023, President Aleksandar Vucic participated in the 2nd Voice of Global South summit, hosted virtually by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. After about three weeks, the two leaders again met in Dubai, on the sidelines of COP28 in December 2023 [UN Climate Summit]. Currently, we are focusing on expanding our business relations where there is untapped potential.

Can you tell us more regarding Serbia’s territorial dispute with the separatist region of Kosovo? Does India have a plan to recognize Kosovo as an independent country?

Our position on Serbia’s territorial dispute with Kosovo has been consistent. India respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia.

What do you think about BRICS? With expanding that with many new member countries, do we see some new world order?

The BRICS bloc represents about 41% of the global population with a primary focus on economic cooperation. These countries contribute 26% to the global GDP. It provides a very important forum for taking a collective and constructive approach to the contemporary global challenges. It is emerging as a symbol of change that appears to be moving more towards multipolarity. New members also bring their vision of the prevailing situation and contribute towards reforming the existing process of global decision making. Global South calls for an inclusive multilateral cooperation.

As of now, bilateral trade between the two countries stands at about USD 300 million


How can you describe actual business relations between India and Serbia?

As of now, bilateral trade between the two countries stands at about USD 300 million, which can be improved. During the visit of our President to Serbia in June last year, enhancing economic ties, cooperation in IT sector, were identified as major areas to focus on. We are facilitating greater interaction between business organizations on both sides. In April 2023, the Federation of Indian Export Organization [FIEO] sponsored a delegation of construction companies from India to participate in the Belgrade Building Expo. This year also, we are expecting a delegation from FIEO for this Expo.

Do you see more potential for investments and is the Serbian market interesting enough for India?

Due to its strategic location, business-friendly environment, competitive labor costs, English speaking labor force, Free Trade Agreements with the EU and other key markets, Serbia remains attractive for Indian businesses. There is a lot of goodwill between the two sides. There is also a perpetual flow of trade enquiries indicating interest on both sides to improve trade relations.

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