Huge business opportunities exist for India and Austria to enhance bilateral trade and investments, Austrian Minister for European and International Affairs Alexander Schallenberg said on Monday.
The bilateral trade between the two countries has crossed USD one billion and "it shows what kind of potential we have," he said here at Austria-India Business Forum, organised by industry body CII. "We are reliable partners, we are people who look for a long term relationship. There are no political strings attached when you deal with Austrian businesses, I can assure you that," the minister said. He added that businesses of both countries can increase cooperation in areas like renewable energy, safe water, hydro plant, infrastructure and waste management.
"We all know that there is an enormous untapped potential in relations between Austria and India," Schallenberg noted. He said that Austrian small and medium-sized companies are looking for business potential in new markets. "We are facing challenges in Ukraine and Russia" and Austrian companies are looking for newer opportunities and markets, he pointed out. "Indian markets might be one of the most challenging ones...but we are hopeful that out of these meetings and talks, some doors will open," he added.
Talking about the Russia-Ukraine conflict, he said that it is a direct attack on the rules-based international system. "As far as businesses are concerned, we have (to) be aware that there is a real earthquake going on...Yes, there might be medium-term or long-term opportunities for other countries...but this is something where we should not look at it in that way because what we seeing is actually a catastrophe," Schallenberg said. He added that when there is a war in Europe, "it has a tendency of spilling over to other continents and other countries. So, nobody can be indifferent of what is happening in Ukraine".