Hungary very important for India: President

India attaches great importance to its relations with Hungary, President Pranab Mukherjee said Thursday.

New Delhi: India attaches great importance to its relations with Hungary, with which cultural links predate diplomatic ties, President Pranab Mukherjee said Thursday as the central European country`s Prime Minister Viktor Orban called on him.

According to a statement from Rashtrapati Bhavan, the president pointed out that Sanskrit was formally included as a regular subject of study in a Hungarian university in 1873.

He thanked the Hungarian government for preserving the rooms where Indian Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore stayed while undergoing medical treatment and for establishing a beautiful Tagore Esplanade in the town of Balatonfured.

The president said regular and frequent exchanges in the last few years have enabled the two countries to enhance bilateral co-operation and boost trade.

"It is satisfying to know that Indian investments in Hungary are in the range of $1.5 billion employing over 8,000 Hungarians and are spread over a number of sectors. Bilateral trade has increased from $398 million in 2007 to an impressive $840 million in 2011," said Mukherjee.

However, there is considerable scope for expansion to new areas such as bio-tech, clean energy, agriculture and water resource management, he noted.

Orban said India can play a bigger role in Europe while supporting its quest for permanent membership of the UN Security Council.