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Working visit of Jean Asselborn to India

Published Monday February 19 2007


The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Jean Asselborn, paid a working visit to India from the 19th to the 22nd of February 2007.

The Head of the Luxembourg diplomacy started his visit at New Delhi where he was received by his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee, the new Indian Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The discussions mainly revolved around the political, economic and commercial relations that India maintains with Luxembourg and the European Union. Even if Luxembourg is already among one of the important investors in India through its financial position, Jean Asselborn expressed the wish that bilateral trade between the Grand Duchy and India could reinforce itself with the signing of the double tax treaty.

On the European level, the Luxembourg minister welcomed the warm relations that the European Union maintains with India which recently witnessed a boost following the establishment of a joint plan of action and a strategic dialogue. Jean Asselborn emphasized that the European Union and India need to continue to reinforce their relations, notably by the starting of negotiations with a view to conclude the agreement on free trade.

The ministers also had an exchange of views on questions of regional significance, and moreover on the recent developments in the Indo-Pakistan relations. Jean Asselborn expressed condolences on behalf of the Luxembourg Government to the families of the victims of the 18 February 2007 bomb attack which took place on the “train of friendship” connecting the two neighboring countries. Minister Asselborn was delighted that despite this tragedy, the dialogue between India and Pakistan continues.

The two ministers also discussed the recent developments in the region (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Myanmar) as well as in the Middle East.

As far as international matters are concerned, the discussions were centered on the United Nations’ reform, the fight against international terrorism and nuclear non-proliferation.

Jean Asselborn also met with Somnath Chatterjee, President of the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament), Mani Shankar Aiyer, Minister of local communities, Lal Krishna Advani, chief of the opposition in Lok Sabha, and K. Narayanan, national security advisor to the Prime Minister.

In the context of his visit to India, the minister also had the occasion to meet many representatives of Luxembourg companies active in the region.

After having attended many meetings in New Delhi, the head of the Luxembourg diplomacy headed to Chennai, formerly known by the name of Madras, an industrial and academic city with a population exceeding 7 million inhabitants.

In Chennai, Jean Asselborn was received by the governor of the state of Tamil Nadu, H. E. Thiru Surjit Singh Barnala, with whom he discussed the recent political and socio-economic developments in this State with a population of 40 million.

At Chennai, the minister visited the premises of Cargolux which connects Chennai to Luxembourg with three weekly flights. The local representative of Cargolux, Jhangoo Daruwalla is also the honorary Consul of Luxembourg in Chennai, capital of the southern State of Tamil Nadu.

The delegation then visited the new factory for the assembling of mobile phones which Nokia has opened in one of the special economic zones of Chennai.

Jean Asselborn also visited the campus of Wipro, the second important Indian company in the field of Information technology. This company which is already present in different European countries announced that it would open a new office shortly in Luxembourg. Jean Asselborn was delighted on hearing this as it would lead to the creation of new high - skilled jobs. In this context, the representatives of Wipro expressed the desire that work permit related questions be dealt with flexibility. Jean Asselborn asserted that he would do all he can in his capacity as Minister of Immigration.

The visit was concluded with a dinner with the Luxembourg community.