They are located thousands of miles away, but India and the southernmost Baltic state of Lithuania find it easy to connect culturally and do business, with the ancient Sanskrit language serving as an enduring bond between the two nations.
There are some 10,000 Sanskrit words in Lithuanian language, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius told his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj during his recent visit to New Delhi. Mrs Swaraj, who has deftly woven core values of Indian culture in her diplomatic outreach, was delighted as the minister gifted her a dictionary of 108 common Sanskrit and Lithuanian words, called the “Sanskrit-Lithuanian Mala.”
Sanskrit and the Lithuanian language, as the oldest surviving languages, share a unique phonetic and grammatical bond. Last year, at the Make in India Week in Mumbai, Lithuania had presented Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a specially published small Sanskrit-Lithuanian dictionary.
It’s not just Sanskrit and yoga that are scripting a new phase in India-Lithuania relationship. Building on spiritual bonds, India and Lithuania, a picturesque country known as land of wood and water, are now stepping up their efforts to fashion a contemporary multi-faceted relationship, which was reflected during the Lithuanian foreign minister’s Oct 8-11 visit to India.
The talks between the foreign ministers of the two countries saw visible progress and outcomes to advance security and economic cooperation. India and Lithuania signed a Treaty of Extradition on October 9, which seeks to “provide a legal framework for seeking extradition of terrorists, economic offenders and other criminals from and to Lithuania.”
“During the visit, the two ministers signed the Treaty on Extradition between India and Lithuania and the protocol amending and supplementing the agreement between India and Lithuania relating to air services,” India’s External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
India and Lithuania share strong economic and cultural ties ever since India established diplomatic relations with this former Soviet bloc. There is close cooperation in sectors like agriculture, tourism, research and development and science. Trade between India and Lithuania crossed 100 million euro mark in 2015 and has increased by 66 per cent. “India’s economic ties with Lithuania have strengthened with an Indian investment in plastic sector in Lithuania’s Special Economic Zone and the growing awareness about the prospects in agriculture sector,” the ministry said.
With Lithuania ranked as the 20th best country to do business in, trade is likely to get a major boost if the FTA agreement with the European Union goes through. India and the EU have been negotiating an FTA for the last decade, but several contentious issues have stalled their efforts to reach a mutually satisfying deal.
The 14th India-EU summit ended in New Delhi on October 6, with the EU leaders expressing hope about restarting FTA negotiations, which stalled in 2013. Mr. Linkevičius, on his part, struck an optimistic note. “My reading was that European leaders were very satisfied with the discussions. Indian side was also happy. The ambience — the way in which we conduct with natural partner of EU — is going quite well. So we believe it will be solved. Of course, it is not so easy. Still it seems to be moving slowly,” he said in an interview.
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