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Business News/ News / World/  ‘China interfered rudely in our affairs’
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‘China interfered rudely in our affairs’

We trust India and we think India is a friendly country. We are sure that India considers us a friendly country.

Diana Mickeviciene, Lithuania Ambassador to IndiaPremium
Diana Mickeviciene, Lithuania Ambassador to India

Ties with India are set to be a prominent focus for Lithuania, as the Baltic country prepares to release an Indo-Pacific strategy, said Diana Mickeviciene, its Ambassador to India in an interview. This assumes importance given Lithuania’s support to Ukraine in its war with Russia. Lithuania is also considering a proposal to join the India-led International Solar Alliance, with a migration and mobility pact as well as increased defence ties next in the agenda for ties. Edited excerpts:

India has just opened an embassy in Lithuania. How have ties progressed?

The government in Lithuania, is a government that has, for almost the first time, paid very close attention to Indo- Pacific generally and India specifically. Before, we were quite focused on our immediate survival needs. Lithuania has now arrived as a very mature partner finally and is ready to partner even with big countries and superpowers. We can do it in our own niche way. Currently, Vilnius is drafting an Indo-Pacific strategy in which India will definitely take an important place. There is also a China angle to this.

We also were hoping to develop economic relations with China and invested a lot in that relationship but we realized that there were very problematic aspects of that relationship because we were not strong enough to resist certain pushes from China. This included interfering very rudely in our domestic affairs, and then when we resisted, they applied strong economic coercion.

What can Lithuania and India do together in the Indo-Pacific?

I think we’ve agreed in our capital that our main direction for the future will be high technology cooperation. Both countries are very strong in their IT sectors. We have some Indian companies which are present in Lithuania like HCL and WIPRO in a small way. We are in talks with several others. I’m very proud to say that a Lithuanian company has been partnering with Tata Consultancy on Aadhaar 2’s development. On the Internet of Things, a Lithuanian company Teletonica has been here since the last two years selling rotors and tracking devices very well. This company has plans in Asia and is choosing the countries where to invest into a bigger production facility. It is definitely considering India.

Any other fields we are looking at?

Solar is a key field. We are one of the few countries in Europe that have managed to preserve solar technologies. Teltonica is also diversifying into solar panels and batteries and is looking at the batteries market in India. There is a great deal of interest in Lithuania joining the India-led International Solar Alliance and the matter is under consideration.

Is a migration and mobility agreement under consideration?

I think it will be the next logical step but I can’t say we are considering it right now. We are waiting for the Indian embassy to start operations in Lithuania. I definitely see there will be more exchanges and this will be another good sign to Indian companies. We need more Indian companies and we are very keen about Indian talent coming in. Even now, we have provided separate channels for Indian talents to come to Lithuania. We definitely have to expand the scope of this exchange.

Is there a sense of what India and Lithuania can do on the defence and security side of the relationship?

Just like mobility and talent, I think that’s going be a next logical step. We trust India and we think India is a friendly country. We are sure that India considers us a friendly country. At the same time, a security and defence dialogue has not started yet. Let the Indian Embassy set itself up and I think we will move to that. What we have started is the cybersecurity cooperation. We are cooperating on the US-led cyber ransomware initiative where Lithuania and India are cooperating and having a dialogue on cyber. I would love to do something more on cyber because our companies have done some things on cybersecurity in your neighbourhood. The National Cyber Response Center in Bangladesh and in Bhutan have been set up by Lithuanian firms but not in India so far.

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Published: 16 Apr 2023, 10:53 PM IST
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