Czech Republic and India have strong bilateral and economic ties and both countries want to elevate it to the next level, Czech Ambassador in New Delhi Milan Hovorka has said.
“We have already proved our capacity to be a trustful partner to help India build its industrial capacity, especially in the power generation and defence sectors. We have advanced the idea of elevating our bilateral partnership. We have agreed to start discussions at the end of which we could come to an agreement that we can elevate it to the level of strategic partnership,” Mr. Hovorka told The Hindu in an interview.
Consulate in Chennai
The envoy, who was in Chennai to open an honorary consulate of Czech Republic in the city, said there are several issues in common for both countries. “We have both been supporters of multilateralism. We definitely are in favour of multilateral solutions, and we strongly reject unilateral actions.”
He added that Czech Republic and India are on the same page on UN reforms. “We are united and we support India’s cause to become a member of the Security Council. We would at the same time like to see the interests of small and medium countries to be reflected in this reform… We are one of the supporters of India’s case to become a full-fledged member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group,” he said.
He said bilateral trade between the two countries is strong and both India and Czech Republic offer investment opportunities for each other. “Bilateral trade is now $1.6 billion out of which $870 million is imports from India. So, we provide very good business and investment opportunities for Indians and they are doing extremely well.”
In the defence sector, according to the Ambassador, both countries have already established strong ties. “You may know Tatra trucks, which has been providing high quality service to Indian armed forces for decades… We do have different kind of surveillance systems. We do have first class radars. Most of Indian airports use radars originating from the Czech Republic.”
“Recently Bengaluru hosted Aero India show. During the show, one of the Czech companies, PBS, signed a contract and opened an Indian office, and the objective is to produce aircraft engines here in India. Czech Republic is one of the few countries which have the capacity to design and produce aircraft of different types, including supersonics,” Mr. Hovorka said.
Honorary Consul Ar Rm Arun said his priorities would be on strengthening business-to-business ties between Czech Republic and Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. “Right now we have only one Czech investment here which is focussed on engineering service industry. But certainly there are a number of things that Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry have to offer,” he said, identifying energy, health care and tourism as potential areas where opportunities could be explored.