Four pacts to be signed during Ansari's visit to Czech Republic, Croatia

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New Delhi, June 5 (ANI): Vice President Hamid Ansari will undertake a State visit to the Czech Republic and the Republic of Croatia between June 6 to 11.

Three agreements related to Economic Cooperation, Social Security, and a Protocol on Amending the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, are expected to be signed during Vice-President's stay in the Czech Republic (June 6 to 9).

While an Agreement on Cooperation in Health and Medicine and a Programme of Cooperation in the field of Culture will be signed during the Vice President's stay in the Republic of Croatia (June 9 to 11).

Briefing media persons here on the visit of Vice President to Czech Republic and Croatia, Secretary (West) Vivek Katju, said: Vice President's visit to the Czech Republic will be the first visit from India at the VVIP level after the visit of President Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma to that country in 1996."

In the Czech Republic, the Vice President will meet with President Vaclav Klaus, the Prime Minister Jan Fischer and the President of the Senate Dr. Premysl Sobotka.

Ansari will also deliver an address on some aspects of global governance in the 21st century at the Prague Security Studies Institute.

"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," said Katju.

"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,"he informed.

High-level visits have also been exchanged between the two countries. The President of the Senate of the Czech Republic visited us in December 2007. The Czech President Vaclav Klaus paid a State visit to India in November 2005.

"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. As you know, elections for the non-permanent seat will take place later this year," Katju further stated.

Bilateral trade between India and the Czech Republic is a little over US$ 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.

During the visit to Croatia (June 9-11) the Indian Vice President will meet with Croatian President Ivo Josipovic and the Speaker of the Croatian Parliament Mr. Luka Bebic.

Katjus said: "Croatia, as you know, was part of the former Yugoslavia with which India enjoyed excellent relations. Following Croatia's independence, the two countries have cooperated in multilateral fora. Croatia has expressed its support for India's permanent membership of the UN Security Council and Croatia is also supporting India's bid for a non-permanent seat for the 2011-12 term."

The Indian Vice President's visit will be significant. It will be the first at the VVIP level from India to Croatia.

"However, the process of interaction at official and political level between the two countries has continued since Croatia's independence. The former Croatian President Stjepan Mesic paid a State visit to India in November 2002 and the Speaker of the Croatian Parliament Luka Bebic led a delegation of Croatian Parliamentarians to India on a bilateral visit this year," he informed.

Croatian scholars have a strong interest in Indology and Indian culture. A Centre for Indology was established at the University of Zagreb in 1962.

At the moment, there are around 80 Croatian students are studying at this Centre. The studies include Hindi and Sanskrit. Croatia has also been a beneficiary of the ITEC programme.

"Bilateral trade between India and Croatia is still limited. We will make efforts. At the moment, the two-way trade is around US$ 160 million. The sectors identified as promising areas of cooperation are energy, infrastructure, IT and tourism," he further stated.

The Vice President, besides visiting Zagreb, will also visit the historic city Dubrovnik, which is a UNESCO world heritage site. (ANI)

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