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Vice President Ansari arrives in Czech Republic on 3-day visit

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.



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).

PTI

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