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Khatami leaves Hyderabad for Tehran

Hyderabad, Jan 28, IRNA -- President Mohammad Khatami Tuesday ended his four-day official visit to India and left Hyderabad, the capital of southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, for Teheran.

Andhra Pradesh Governor, Surjeet Singh Barnala and Chief Minister Chandra Babu Naidu saw President Khatami off at the Hyderabad airport.

Before leaving Hyderabad, the Iranian president participated in a luncheon, arranged by the state governor in his honor. Naidu called on Khatami and apprised him of the progresses his state had made in the Information Technology (IT) sector.

"Andhra Pradesh state is determined to eradicate poverty through utilization of IT," he said.

Khatami arrived in New Delhi Friday at the formal invitation of Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam and during the four-day visit seven documents, including the New Delhi Declaration, were signed between the two countries.

The Iranian president also took part in India's Republic Day ceremony on Sunday as a special guest.

The Delhi Declaration, signed by Khatami and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, lays the roadmap for strategic partnership between India and Iran for a more stable, peaceful and prosperous region as well as further strengthening of regional and international cooperation.

The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on the purchase of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and cooperation in various sectors of petroleum, including exploration, utilization and transport of compressed natural gas (CNG).

In a joint business session of India and Iran on Monday, Khatami stressed that Tehran's foreign policy was focused on broadening cooperation with Asian countries, among whom "India occupies a distinguished place".

Iran has the potential to become a flourishing market for Indian IT goods, Khatami said. He also invited Indian companies to invest in Iran's oil and gas sectors as he touted the country's energy potentials as accounting for nearly nine percent of the world's oil reserves and 15 percent of proven gas reserves.

The potential of the two countries for broadening economic ties was higher than the current volume of trade, which had risen from 120 million dollars in 1991 to 500 million dollars in 2002, he said.

Khatami stated that piped gas from Iran to India can be implemented once the final decision is taken. He, however, cautioned that the two countries' cooperation could face obstacles and hindrances which could be removed through "dialogue and negotiations".

The Iranian president was conferred an honorary doctorate degree by the Delhi University in appreciation of "his services as a political thinker for working to expand and deepen religious democracy and inviting the people for peace, tranquility and coexistence in the world".

Khatami also met India's main opposition Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi, during which he praised the Gandhi family and Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Indian prime minister, as well as Mahatma Gandhi's non-violence campaign.

"Unfortunately, nowadays no human being in any corner of the world is immune from violence, terror and war," the Iranian president said.

Khatami also visited Hyderabad, capital of southern state of Andhra Pradesh, which has established itself as India's main information technology (IT) hub.

President Khatami visits information technology center in Hyderabad

Hyderabad, Jan 28, IRNA -- Islamic Republic of Iran's President Seyed Mohammad Khatami Tuesday morning visited the Hyderabad Information Technology Engineering Consultancy (HITEC) Center in Hyderabad, in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

He is accompanied by an Iranian delegation, which includes the Iranian ministers of science, defense and foreign affairs and Deputy Minister Nasrullah Jahangard of the Ministry of Post, Telegraphs and Telephones as well as by a number of Indian officials.

The visiting entourage observed the activities and programs of HITECH City, the biggest center for information technology in India.

The authorities of HITECH City told the visiting President Khatami that the software exports of the center last year reached US$11 million, an increase of 42 percent compared with those of the previous year.

HITECH City is a major center of production and training of computer specialists and many large Indian and foreign multinational companies have branches in the center.

The center in Hyderabad has given great scientific and technological value to India.

Hyderabad, with an area of 217 square km and a population of 3,686,460, is one of the few cities in India which has established an information technology center.

The state government of Andhra Pradesh has progressed considerably in utilizing information technology (IT) for governance in a way that Chandra Babu Naidu, the present chief minister of the state, is known as the IT chief minister.

The software export earnings of Software Technology Park (STPI), which was only 200,000 rupees in 1991-92, reached Rs28.5 million in 2001-02.

Software companies doing business in the park in 1995-96 was only 31, but in the year 2001-02 the number increased considerably to 1320.

The development of the information technology industry in India started about 10 years back and since then India's software exports have increased from US$ 128 million in 1991-92 to US$6 billion in 2000-01, the figure expected to reach US$10 billion in the current year.

The focus and emphasis of India on development of information technology and its efforts to become a superpower in the IT sector and become a major exporter of software by 2008 is now one of the priorities of the country.

Besides the central government's support, the state and governments also provide special support to software producers.

There is currently intense competition among the several Indian states, particularly Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi, to attract investment in the area.

... Payvand News - 1/28/03 ... --

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