Vienna: India and Austria on Wednesday recognised the importance of tourism and cultural sector and stressed the need to increase tourist flows by expanding flight connectivity.

PM Modi arrived in Vienna on Tuesday evening for a day-long State visit. The visit holds special significance as it marks several decades since an Indian Prime Minister last visited Austria, coinciding with the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two nations.

Notably, this is the first time an Indian Prime Minister has visited Austria in 41 years. Indira Gandhi was the last PM to visit Austria in 1983.

Recognising the significance of tourism in generating economic, sustainable and inclusive growth, both nations encouraged efforts by relevant agencies to work together to expand tourist flows in both directions, including by expanding direct flight connectivity, the lengths of stay and other initiatives, an official release by the PMO said.

Appreciating the tradition of cultural exchanges, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer and PM Modi also noted the growing interest among Austrians in yoga as well as Ayurveda. The press release informed that the nations welcomed efforts to promote bilateral cultural ties in music, dance, opera, theatre, films, literature, sports and other fields, including in the framework of the recently signed MoU on Cultural Cooperation.

Both the leaders also recognised the importance of skill development along with the mobility of skilled personnel to support an expanded engagement in high-tech sectors.

In this regard, both the leaders welcomed the operationalisation of the bilateral Migration and Mobility Agreement, which provides an institutional framework to facilitate such exchanges, while at the same time combating irregular migration, the PMO said.

During the meeting, the leaders also encouraged the academic institutions of both build future-oriented partnerships focused on sectors like science, technology, and engineering.

Notably, PM Modi held significant meetings with Austrian leaders, including Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen and Chancellor Nehammer, to bolster bilateral cooperation and explore new avenues for collaboration between India and Austria.

In a series of posts on X, Prime Minister Modi shared insights into his discussions and engagements. "Had a very good meeting with Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen and discussed ways to expand India-Austria cooperation," he stated, noting the positive outcome of their conversation.

Prime Minister Modi also highlighted his interaction with business leaders from both countries. "Met business leaders from India and Austria. Our nations are confident of leveraging the many opportunities ahead to boost commercial and trade linkages," he said, underlining the mutual confidence in enhancing economic ties.

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