Droupadi Murmu has become the first Indian President to visit Serbia
In a historic first, President Droupadi Murmu of India arrived in Belgrade, Serbia, on Wednesday (June 7, 2023), marking the first visit by an Indian President to the country. President Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia received President Murmu at the Nikola Tesla Airport as a special gesture and she was accorded a guard of honour upon her arrival.

President Murmu paid her respects by laying floral tributes at the bust of Mahatma Gandhi in Belgrade. Later in the evening, she addressed the Indian community and friends of India at a community reception hosted by Ambassador of India to Serbia Sanjiv Kohli.

President Droupadi Murmu's address to the Indian community and friends of India in Belgrade emphasized the historical connections between India and Serbia, particularly in the context of the Non-Aligned Movement. "The busts of Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, and Rabindranath Tagore in Belgrade, and the Josip Broz Tito Street in New Delhi, and the Tito roundabout in Jodhpur stand testimony to that historical connection," she remarked.

Serbia is one of the six successor states of the erstwhile country of Yugoslavia, one of the founding members of the movement along with India. The Non-Aligned Movement was a group of countries that did not align themselves with either the United States or the Soviet Union during the Cold War. This shared history has laid the foundation for current bilateral relations between India and Serbia.

Speaking at the event, President Murmu said, "On the global stage, India is recognised as a responsible development partner, a First Responder, and a voice of the Global South. Each of these aspects reflects our quest towards becoming a leading power".

India has played a leading role on the issues related to climate action, counter-terrorism, connectivity, maritime security, financial inclusion and food security. India has been at the forefront of initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance, which aims to promote the use of solar energy, and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, which aims to build infrastructure that is resilient to natural disasters.

President Murmu also highlighted the role of Serbia as a valuable partner in India's sustainable development cooperation programs. India has been working with Serbia to promote sustainable development in areas such as agriculture, renewable energy, and water management.

The visit of President Murmu to Serbia is expected to further strengthen the partnership between the two countries and pave the way for greater cooperation in areas such as trade, investment, and cultural exchange. By working together, India and Serbia can build a more sustainable and prosperous future for their people and contribute to the global effort to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

During her visit, President Murmu is scheduled to meet with Serbian President Vucic, Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, and Speaker of the Serbian National Assembly Vladimir Orlić. According to the media briefing by Sanjay Varma (MEA) on June 2, 2023, a 20-member business delegation from India, including representatives from ASSOCHAM, FICCI, and CII, will also be present to explore business opportunities and strengthen economic ties between the two nations.

President Murmu's visit Serbia is also significant in the context of India's growing engagement with Europe. The visit highlights India's commitment to strengthening its ties with the region.

India and Europe share a common vision for a rules-based international order, and their partnership is crucial for addressing global challenges such as climate change, terrorism, and pandemics. This historic collaboration is a step towards building stronger partnerships with European countries and promoting greater cooperation between India and Europe.