India, Czech Republic sign three agreements during Ansari visit
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Last Updated: Tuesday, June 08, 2010, 23:19
  
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 agreement.

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, 1996.

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.

PTI


First Published: Tuesday, June 08, 2010, 23:19


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