Balazs Orban - Photo:

Official underscores importance of East-West cooperation

International relations must be built on voluntary cooperation and earnest dialogue, and if the West continues to raise blocs it will "lock itself up in a prison", the prime minister's political director told a conference on Tuesday.

“Europe would not be where it is today had the East and West not met at a crossroads 2,500 years ago,” Balazs Orban told the conference held in Budapest to mark the 75th anniversary of Hungary-India diplomatic ties.

But today the West, in fear of losing its hegemony and a further strengthening of its Eastern adversaries, is forging isolation, he said.

“Hungary considers this the wrong strategy, because instead of being a solution, it is slowing down processes,” the political director said, noting that on the one hand the fastest economic growth was no longer projected to be in the West and, on the other hand, with building blocs the West would only isolate itself from the eastern markets.

Hungary’s strategy is however based on the logic of “fruitful cooperation” which seeks to open up the doors to parties seeking cooperation in the world, Orban said, adding that India-Hungary relations aimed “in a deeper sense” to seek friendship rather than colonisation.

Since the Hungarian government launched its policy of opening to the East in 2012, Hungary-India trade volumes reached records in every year with Hungary’s exports seeing a trifold and imports a six-fold increase, the political director noted. He highlighted an active presence of Hungarian businesses in India’s water management, food processing, defence, pharmaceutical and energy sectors as well as large investments by Indian firms in Hungary employing tens of thousands of people.

In her opening address to the conference, Meenakshi Lekhi, India’s Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture, underscored the importance in India’s foreign policy of building and maintaining international relations on the basis of mutual respect towards the values and views of the cooperating countries.

The conference was also greeted by the Hungarian and the Indian foreign ministers in their video messages.

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