Vice President Ansari arrives in Czech Republic on 3-day visit
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Last Updated: Sunday, June 06, 2010, 21:45
Prague: Vice President Hamid Ansari arrived here on Sunday on a high-level visit to the Czech Republic during which the two sides will sign three agreements on economic cooperation, social security and bilateral investment promotion.

During his three-day visit, Ansari, the first top level Indian leader to visit the country in 14 years, will meet President Vaclav Klaus, Prime Minister Jan Fischer and President of the Senate Premysl Sobotka, and address a meet on global governance in the 21st century at the Prague Security Studies Institute.

"We have old relations with both Czech Republic as well as Croatia. Both the countries have gone through various kind of political situation. The basic purpose of the visit is to revive old friendship, revive old ties," Ansari told accompanying journalists.

He said both the countries were cooperating in areas like nuclear energy, trade and technology and Czech Republic was supporting India in its bid for a permanent membership in the UN Security Council.

"We are a big country but we want to convey the message that we do care about the small countries. They also want engagement outside Europe and there comes India," he said.

Ansari will leave for Croatia from here on June 9 on a two-day visit.

The three agreements which will be signed during his Czech Republic tour are: Agreement on Economic Cooperation, Social Security Agreements and A Protocol on Amending the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement.

"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 said.

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

Vice President's visit to the Czech Republic will be the first from India at the highest level after the visit of the then President Shankar Dayal Sharma in 1996.

India has friendly, cordial and cooperative relations with the Czech Republic. The relationship covers political, economic and commercial fields as well as cooperation in technology and culture exchanges.

Regular exchanges of views between India and the Czech Republic have 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.

The Czech Republic has supported India's permanent membership in the UN Security Council. It is also supporting India's bid for a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council for the term 2011-12.

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 at Mumbai.

Ansari is accompanied by Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology Sachin Pilot and MPs Tiruchi Siva (DMK), Prasanta Chatterjee (CPI-M), Maya Singh (BJP) and Mohammed Azharuddin (Congress).


First Published: Sunday, June 06, 2010, 21:45

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