Austrian Foreign Minister hails ties with India


Calling the mobility agreement exemplary, Schallenberg said immigration is needed but not the kind which is controlled by states and not by organised crimes and human traffickers….reports Asian Lite News

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg hailed ties with New Delhi in Vienna on Monday saying he was looking forward to more investment, exchange and more people-to-people contact between the two countries.

He said the two countries have a lot of potential and lot to learn from each other. “I want more….more trade, more investment, more exchange, more people-to-people contact, more Indian scholars here, more Austrian students and scholars in India, the other way around. I believe there is a lot of potential and a lot of things we can learn and gain from each other,” Schallenberg said during a joint presser with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in the Austrian capital.

The Austrian Foreign minister announced that the two sides initialed the agreement on a Comprehensive Migration Mobility Partnership which, he said, was of great strategic importance to Austria.

The Austrian minister said, “Most importantly, today we just initialed the agreement on a comprehensive migration mobility partnership. This is of strategic importance for Austria.”

During the joint statement, Schallenberg underlined that the intensified cooperation is a matter of utmost importance to both countries as Austria experienced the highest number of asylum-seekers last year, as high as 100, 000, including an exploding number of Indians coming illegally from Serbia.

“This is a sign of very intensified cooperation in a matter which is of higher importance because last year we experienced the highest number of asylum seekers in Austria, over 100, 000 and we had exploding number of Indians coming illegally from Serbia to Austria. Reaching 2021, we had 600 asylum applications from Indian citizens in Austria and suddenly they reached 18000 last year,” the Austrian Foreign minister said.

He added, “The number has number decreased. We have pressured our Serbian friends to align the visa liberalization policy to EU policy which they have done thankfully. I am especially happy about this agreement. The problem is not immigration, the problem is not migration. We want that, we need that. The problem is illegal immigration and here we are having the very common view that this is something we do not want.”

Calling the mobility agreement exemplary, Schallenberg said immigration is needed but not the kind which is controlled by states and not by organised crimes and human traffickers.

“India takes back people who come illegally. Austria has now undertaken to make mobility and migration easier,” Schallenberg said, adding that thousands of Indians living in Austria “are enriching our society”.

“This agreement is exemplary as on one side India takes to take back people who come back illegally and on the other side, we undertake to make mobility and migration easier… to have students, to have scholars, to have skilled workers coming to Austria,” the Austrian Foreign minister added.

During the joint press briefing, Jaishankar praised Schallenberg for inviting him to the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s concert. Thanking Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer for receiving him, the EAM said they shared Austria’s views on relations between the two countries as well as current international problems.

On the agreements between India and Austria, Jaishankar said, “We have concluded a number of agreements…I think a particularly noteworthy one is the initialising of the Comprehensive Migration & Mobility Partnership Agreement because it will enable demands for skills and talents to be synchronized with their availability.”

Jaishankar noted that India has concluded similar agreements with other nations, including France, Germany, and Portugal. He assured that India will support Austrian companies who come forward in this regard.

Saying India is a strong supporter of legal migration and mobility, Jaishankar stressed that it wants a “fair, legal and equal opportunity” to showcase the contributions to Indian skills and talent.

Jaishankar emphasised on the contribution of India to Austrian economy, saying, “I’m glad to note that India’s presence in the Austrian economy has grown substantially this is particularly so with the digital and auto industries. There is again scope to grow more here. “

Earlier, Jaishankar met Bulgarian President Rumen Georgiev Radev in Vienna and held discussions on bolstering cooperation between the two nations in the ‘Make in India’ space, near-shoring, and building resilient supply chains.

Jaishankar tweeted, “A good meeting in Vienna with President Rumen Georgiev Radev of Bulgaria. Discussed strengthening of our cooperation in the context of Make in India, near-shoring and building resilient supply chains.”

EAM Jaishankar will hold a meeting with International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi on Tuesday.

Prior to his visit to Austria, Jaishankar had travelled to Cyprus, calling on former Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides during his three-day trip. In a tweet, Jaishankar said, “Good to catch up with an old friend, former Foreign Minister @Christodulides.”

Jaishankar also met his Cyprus counterpart Ioannis Kasoulide, with whom he signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Defence and Military Cooperation. (ANI)

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