India, Laos sign agreements to give modern content to 2000-year-old friendship

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Vientiane (Laos), Sep 10 (ANI): To give modern content to a historic friendship of over 2000 years, India and Laos on Friday signed a series of agreements to strengthen their age-old ties.

The two countries signed a cultural exchange programme for 2011, 2012 and 2013. Both sides agreed to offer scholarships annually for higher studies in universities / institutions in each other's countries.

"President of Laos thanked India for its cooperation in its development. India is pleased to be partner of Laos in meeting its developmental goals. He also expressed appreciation for India's duty free tariff scheme," Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs Vijaya Latha Reddy told reporters after a meeting between both Presidents concluded.

"A cultural exchange programme was signed for the period 2011 to 2013 and steps India is going to take has been outlined," she added.

Apart from it, both sides will also exchange visits by experts in health sciences for delivering lectures, study tours and training. The National Library, Kolkata, will exchange reading materials including microfilms, microfiches etc. with the libraries and institutions in Laos.

The agreements were signed by India's Ambassador to Laos, Dr. Jitendra Nath Misra and Lao Vice Minister for Information and Culture Bouangeun Xaphouvong in the presence of President Pratibha Devisingh Patil and her Lao counterpart Choummaly Sayasone.

Both presidents simultaneously pressed the buttons to inaugurate an electricity project of 115KV double line circuit, which has been constructed with the help of a loan from India.

"This project will help Lao to meet its developmental goal to create a national power grid and will reinforce the energy sector as a part of on going infrastructural development of the Government of Lao," said Latha Reddy.

She also said India has agreed to the Laotian Government's proposal for for 72.55 million dollars for two power projects of 230 megawatts and 15 mega watts respectively. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)

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