New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday met Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov here and invited companies from the Balkan nation to manufacture in India as part of the ambitious 'Make in India' programme.
Kovind arrived here on Tuesday from Cyprus on the second leg of his eight-day three-nation visit to Europe to continue India's high-level engagements with European countries. From Bulgaria, he will fly to Czech Republic.
"President Kovind meets PM Borissov of Bulgaria; calls for stronger bilateral relations; invites Bulgarian companies to come and manufacture in India as part of the 'Make in India' programme," the President's Secretariat tweeted.
The bilateral trade between India and Bulgaria stands at just over $300 million.
Referring to the trade volume, Kovind on Wednesday said at the India-Bulgaria Business Forum, "This falls way below the potential. I am confident that a lot more can be done together if we drive deeper into each other's economies and look for prospects. I am certain your deliberations today would be most productive on that account." "While our political relations have always been strong and deep, our economic ties have so far been modest. It is time for us to catch up," he added.
The President said Bulgarian companies can take advantage of the high growth trajectory of the Indian economy. And Indian companies could form partnerships in Bulgaria both for the domestic market and for the wider EU economy.
"The key areas with potential for two-way trade and investment engagement include ICT, Biotechnology, Pharmaceuticals, Agriculture, Food Processing, Auto Components, Medical Devices, Defence Production, Infrastructure and Tourism sectors," he said.
Kovind said India with a current growth rate of 8.2% is on course to become a 5 trillion economy by 2025."India has recently become the 6th largest economy in the world with a GDP of US dollars 2.6 trillion. The IMF has forecast the Indian growth to be at 7.8% in 2019.Our economic graph offers long-term prospects for Bulgarian companies to invest, trade and establish technology tie-ups in India," he said.
The President said India has the largest pool of digital talent in the world and is the largest ICT sourcing destination and Bulgaria is also famous for its ICT strengths. So there is "immense potential for our companies to come together to collaborate in artificial intelligence, data analytics, the internet of things, robotics and nano-technology".
He also said Bulgaria can help India meet its massive defence requirements."I invite Bulgarian companies to join hands with Indian majors and manufacture in India both for the local market and for rest of the world," Kovind said.
Bulgaria is a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) member country with a large indigenous defence industry. It is ranked as a "medium" small arms exporter according to the Small Arms Survey.