Vice President Venkaiah Naidu holds talks with Lithuanian President; discusses bilateral ties, regional issues

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday held talks with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda and discussed important aspects of bilateral relationship as well as global and regional issues of common interest. Naidu, who arrived here on Saturday, also briefed the Lithuanian President on the recent decision of the Indian Government to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution that conferred special status upon Jammu and Kashmir. He said the decision was taken to ensure all-round development and extend benefits to the people of the newly-created Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, according to an official statement. The Vice President is on a five-day trip to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, the first ever high-level visit from India to the three Baltic countries. During his talks with Nauseda, the Vice President asserted that the re-organisation of Jammu and Kashmir was aimed at reducing regional disparity and improving administrative efficiency. He informed the Lithuanian President that Article 370 had enabled vested interests to create a climate of separatism and establish linkages with terrorist groups. He told him that although large resources were given to the state by the Union Government, there was no commensurate development. Naidu explained that the reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir was completely within the purview of the Government of India. It has equity and inclusion as the main objective, he said. Observing that terrorism was one of the major challenges confronting the world today, the vice president urged all the nations to intensify their collective efforts and strive to eliminate the menace of terrorism and also isolate nations which aid and abet terrorism. The two sides had extensive discussions on important aspects of bilateral relationship as well as global and regional issues of common interest. They renewed their commitment to further build on the long-standing friendly ties between the two countries. They also agreed on the need for the UN to demonstrate a collective political will for early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, which was proposed by India many years ago. They discussed the need for an early and comprehensive reform of the United Nations Security Council to make it more representative to reflect the realities of today and address current global challenges. They agreed to strengthen the existing cooperation between the two countries at the United Nations and other multilateral fora. The two countries discussed the huge scope for expansion of commercial and economic ties. He praised Lithuanias many achievements since achieving independence almost 30 years back. Naidu said that both the countries have civilisational links that go back centuries. The Lithuanian President and the Vice President witnessed the signing of two agreements on agriculture and allied sectors and cultural exchange programme from 2019-21.