S M Krishna has talks in Belarus

      Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna has arrived here to foster bilateral ties between the two countries. Krishna is the first Indian External Minister to visit this country. On Wednesday, Krishna visited the Victory Square Monument in the city and paid tribute to soldiers who had laid down their lives during the World War II while fighting the Nazi invaders. "This is the first ever visit by an Indian Minister for External Affairs to Belarus. I think it is an important visit with a view to further cement and strengthen relationship to mutual advantage," said Ramesh Chander, Indian Ambassador to Belarus. Krishna's visit is being seen as important, as it would help to cement ties further between the two countries. "In 2008, we had a 432 million trade turnover. And this year, it is likely to touch 500 million by the end of the year," Chander added. Krishna reviewed guard of honour of the Belarus Army at the Square. He was received by the Deputy Mayor of Minsk, Titenkov Mikhail. On Thursday, Krishna will call on Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko. He will also hold talks with his counterpart Sergey Martynov. Two agreements will be signed including one on Cooperation in Physical Education and Sports and an MoU on the Establishment of a Digital Learning Centre in Minsk. The Digital Learning Centre will impart skills in advanced computing and software creation to young Belarusian students, initially with Indian faculty members and thereafter with trained Belarusian professionals. Krishna will also pay an official visit to Turkmenistan on September 18 and 19. He will call on Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov and hold meetings with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov. Krishna will also have a meeting with Minister in-charge of Oil and Gas sector Baymyrat Hojamuhammedov. Both countries will sign a cooperation agreement during the visit.

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