President Droupadi Murmu on Wednesday said that India is recognised as a responsible development partner and a voice of the Global South on the global stage, reflecting the country's quest towards becoming a leading power.
Addressing the Indian community in the Serbian capital, President Murmu also said that new infrastructure is coming up across India at a breathtaking pace and the country hopes to be a developed nation by 2047, the centenary of its independence.
"India is the fastest growing major economy in the world. With a GDP approaching USD 3.5 trillion, we are on the way to becoming the world's third biggest economy before the end of this decade. India is confidently pursuing its ambition to be a developed country by 2047," she said soon after her arrival here on a state visit.
On the global stage, India is recognised as a responsible development partner, a First Responder, and a voice of the Global South, she said.
"Each of these aspects reflects our quest towards becoming a leading power," she said, referring to the leading role played by India on the issues related to climate action, counter-terrorism, connectivity, maritime security, financial inclusion and food security.
She said that early indications suggest that India's gender ratio is in favour of women and cited the results of the civil services exam in which top four positions were achieved by women.
Noting that India and Serbia are both ancient lands, the president said that in the modern era, India's relations with Serbia were particularly defined in the context of the Non-Aligned Movement.
She said that the busts of Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, and Rabindranath Tagore in Belgrade, and the Josip Broz Tito Street in New Delhi, and the Tito roundabout in Jodhpur stand testimony to that historical connection.
Serbia has been a valuable partner in India's sustainable development cooperation programmes, she added.
India and Serbia have always shared an understanding of each other's core interests, Murmu said, adding that based on this bilateral foundation, she would look forward to interacting with the Serbian leadership during her visit.
She also hailed the sports ties between the two countries and said tennis player Novak Djokovic is seen as a role model and inspiration for millions in India.
"Several sports coaches from Serbia are helping Indian athletes and sportspersons to improve their skills," he said. "We are touched by your admiration and love for India."
She also noted that Indian movies are popular in Serbia, and the European country has emerged as a new film destination for Indian filmmakers.
"I was very pleased to see the cultural performance by the children," she said, adding that many Serbians have a deep affinity for India's spiritual heritage, including yoga. "I am also told that Ayurveda is recognised here as a system for cure and treatment."
The President appreciated the Serbian Friends of India for their admiration and love for India. She said that their role in strengthening the friendship and understanding between India and Serbia is invaluable.
Earlier in the day, President Murmu, who arrived here from Suriname, was received by her Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic at the airport. Her visit is the first by an Indian President to Serbia.
"President Droupadi Murmu was given a warm welcome on arrival in Belgrade. This is the first visit by an Indian President to Serbia. As a special gesture, President @avucic of Serbia received President Murmu at the airport. She was accorded a guard of honour on her arrival," her office tweeted.
From the airport, the President travelled to Gandijeva Street and paid respects at the bust of Mahatma Gandhi.
During her visit, Murmu will have a bilateral meeting with President Vucic, and meet Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, and Speaker of the National Assembly Vladimir Orlic.
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