India and the Czech Republic signed five agreements on cooperation in areas of science and technology, energy and defence as part of President Ramnath Kovind’s state visit to that country.
President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday invited Czech Republic's defence companies to invest and manufacture in India, noting that defence was a vital area of cooperation between the two countries.
Addressing the Czech-Indian Business Forum at Prague, the President said the requirements of India's defence sector, which was opened to private sector recently, were huge.
He said Czech Republic’s technology and manufacturing prowess and India’s growth needs make the countries ‘natural partners.’
Stating that the Indian economy was dynamic and strong, Kovind urged Czech enterprises to explore, initiate and expand their footprint in India.
Indian companies are also keen to establish new business tie-ups and locate themselves in Czech Republic, he added.
“I invite you to partner us in India’s exciting and transformative journey, which is going to usher in a new era to not only India and Czech Republic, but to the entire world,” he said.
He also encouraged existing Czech companies who had invested in India to remain invested in India.
Kovind said that India’s growth story and Czech Republic's technology and manufacturing prowess made the two countries “natural partners”. He highlighted that Indian economy grew 8.2 per cent in the first quarter this fiscal and that India was the fastest growing large economy in the world. India was now the 6th largest economy in the world and poised to become a $5 trillion economy by 2025, he added.
“From Bata to Skoda, the story of India-Czech partnership has been defined by popular embrace, sustainable practices and high business confidence. We encourage Czech enterprises to remain invested in the Indian growth story,” says a Rashtraptibhavan Tweet.
Kovind said bilateral trade at $1.07 billion did not reflect the true potential for economic cooperation between the two countries and there was a need to “redouble our efforts” on this front in the coming days.
He expressed hope that the 11th Joint Economic Commission meeting, to be co-chaired by commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu, next month at Prague, would throw up new ideas to boost bilateral trade and diversify economic linkages.
Czech Republic's trade and industry minister Marta Novakova said her country is committed to strengthening economic cooperation with India. India ranks among Czech Republic's 10 most important non-European business partners, she added.
She said that opportunities of economic cooperation between the two countries are not fully capitalised. “There are large scale areas like energy where more cooperation could be achieved. Besides thermal and hydro, we see possibilities for nuclear energy in India,” Novakova said.
She also said that Czech companies were willing to cooperate in infrastructure and were already working in India in areas like water management.
Novakova also said that the project of creation of Czech industrial cluster in Bengaluru will come up for discussion at the Joint Economic Commission meeting.
Kovind is accompanied by a 50-member strong business delegation from India. The delegation includes members of industry chambers Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Confederation of Indian Industry, Assocham, PHDCCI and Trade Promotion Council of India.
On Friday, there was a B2B meeting between the business representatives of two sides, leading to signing of four memorandum of understanding in industry and education sectors.
President Kovind also thanked the President and government of the Czech Republic for a special carve-out for mobility of high-skilled Indian workers and business executives to work and live in the Czech Republic on a long-term basis. Initially limited to 500 visas a year, the new procedure will come into effect in October 2018.
India and the Czech Republic are signing five agreements as part of President Kovind’s visit. These include:
- Cooperation between the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, India, and the Czech Academy of Sciences;
- A work plan to support Indo-Czech projects in diverse areas of science and technology, with the Department of Science and Technology taking the lead from the Indian side;
- A visa waiver agreement for diplomatic passport holders;
- Cooperation in laser technology between ELI Beamlines and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research; and
- Cooperation between the Haryana Agricultural University and the Czech University of Life Sciences.
In addition, India and the Czech Republic have agreed to initiate cooperation in civil nuclear energy. Details of a prospective agreement between the Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership, Jhajjar, Haryana, and a relevant Czech institution are to be worked out.
Later, the President attended a luncheon banquet hosted in his honour by President Milos Zeman of the Czech Republic.