India, Czech Republic sign three agreements during Ansari visit

India on Tuesday signed three agreements with Czech Republic including one on social security that will protect the interests of around 700 Indians working in the European nation.

Prague: India on Tuesday signed three
agreements with Czech Republic including one on social
security that will protect the interests of around 700 Indians
working in the European nation.

An agreement on Social Security and Administrative
Arrangement for the implementation of the Agreement on Social
Security was signed by Minister of State for Communication and
Information Technology Sachin Pilot and Czech Minister of
Labour and Social Affairs in the presence of Vice-President
Hamid Ansari during the first leg of his two-nation tour.
"Under the Social Security Agreement with Czech
Republic, citizens working in either country in less than five
years would be exempted from social security contributions,"
Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs Vivek
Katju told reporters here.

Besides, contributions towards pension funds of those
who return after five years will also be protected through the
proposed pact.

Around 600 to 700 Indians are working in Czech
Republic whose interests will be protected through this

Two other agreements were signed by the two countries
-- on Economic Cooperation and one on a Protocol on Amendment
of the Agreement between India and Czech Republic for the
Promotion and Protection of Investments signed on October 11,
Katju described the visit as a "great success" as
both the nations emphasised on greater cooperation on diverse
sectors like trade and commerce, engineering technology,
nano-technology, agriculture etc.

Earlier, speaking at the working lunch hosted by
Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer, Vice-President Ansari said
the two countries` economic engagement has intensified to the
mutual benefit of the people.

"Czech engineers have contributed to India`s
industrialisation and BATA, Yezdi and Skoda are well known
brand names in India. Many Indian companies are present in the
Czech Republic in diverse sectors such as software, trucks,
pharmaceuticals and textiles," he said.

Ansari said India has attempted inclusive economic
growth within the framework of a Parliamentary democracy so
that all sections and groups have a stake in the growing
prosperity of the nation.

"We believe that there is an ideal synergy between
Czech technology and India`s growing market. There is also
scope for cooperation between our universities and cultural
institutions," he said.

"Prague has been the intellectual centre of Europe.
You also have a rich cultural tradition. This has made your
capital an important centre for globally significant events,"
Ansari said.

India has friendly, cordial and cooperative relations
with the Czech Republic covering political, economic and
commercial fields as well as cooperation in technology and
culture exchanges.
A regular exchange of views between India and the
Czech Republic has been maintained on bilateral as well as
global issues. This dialogue is sustained through visits at
the Ministerial levels as well as the mechanism of Foreign
Office Consultations.

Bilateral trade between India and the Czech Republic
is a little over USD 1 billion. Two-way investments by
companies have also been made.

Czech investments in India are in automobile and power
sectors, whereas from India, companies from automobiles and IT
sectors have made investments in the Czech Republic.

The Czech Republic has a strong tradition in science
and technology as well as in engineering and Indian and Czech
institutions are exploring possibilities of cooperation in
these areas. Indian institutions who have shown an interest in
cooperating in Science and Technology are CSIR as well as the
IIT Mumbai.

The Vice-President will leave for Croatia tomorrow for
the second leg of his two-nation visit.