Ansari heads to Czech Republic, Croatia tomorrow



New Delhi: Vice President Hamid Ansari leaves on Sunday on a week-long visit to the Czech Republic and Croatia, two East European countries that are negotiating their way out of recession and are looking at closer economic ties with India.

Ansari arrives in Prague on Sunday evening to begin a three-day visit. He will meet Czech President Vaclav Klaus on Monday and discuss ways to expand political, economic and cultural cooperation between the two countries, official sources said.

With India competing for a rotating non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council for 2011-12, Ansari is set to discuss the UN reforms and seek Prague's support for India's bid for the coveted seat.

Two agreements on economic cooperation and social security are likely to be signed, the sources said.

Ansari, a former diplomat, will deliver a lecture on 'Some aspects of global governance in the 21st century' in Prague Monday afternoon.

The Czech economy is expected to recover from the recession this year and is looking at attracting more investment from India, the second fastest growing economy in the world.

Ansari will also meet the Indian community at a reception. The Czech Republic is home to some 100-odd Indian families, comprising mainly businessmen and professionals.

Ansari heads to Croatian capital Zagreb on June 09 for a three-day visit.

He will hold wide-ranging discussions with Croatian President Ivo Josipovic on a wide-range of issues, including expanding bilateral economic ties and the UN reforms. Some agreements are expected to be signed, said the sources.

Croatia, which hopes to join the EU around 2012, suffered a major contraction of its economy last year. The country's economy is expected to record a mild recovery from the recession this year.

IANS