India, Poland to sign agreement on cultural exchange programme on Tuesday

New Delhi, Sep.6 (ANI): India and Poland will sign an agreement on cultural exchange programme during the delegation level talks to be held between the two sides on Tuesday in the national capital.

The Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk arrived in Bangalore on Monday on a three-day State visit.

In a press briefing of the Ministry of External Affairs here today, it was informed that during this visit, Prime Minister Tusk and Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh with their delegations will hold in-depth exchange of views on robust bilateral relations and also discuss bilateral and multilateral issues of mutual interest.

Poland has also committed support for India's candidature of the permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

The Polish delegation besides Prime Minister Donald's spouse, includes the Ambassador of Poland; the Head of Prime Minister's Office Mr. Arabsky; senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Defence, Foreign Investment Agency, and others.

However, the Indian delegation during the talks will include External Affairs Minister S.M.Krishna, Defence Minister A.K.Antony, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma.

"Besides, it also includes other senior officials, including Culture Secretary because the only agreement which will be signed, though there were several in the pipeline, is the cultural exchange programme tomorrow, " said Joint Secretary (Central Europe) Banashri Bose Harrison during the press briefing of the Ministry of External Affairs. .

MEA's official spokesperson Vishnu Prakash, however, informed reporters that both-India and Poland-- are flourishing democracies. The deep rooted relations between the two are deep-rooted and have been traditionally close and friendly.

He informed that these contacts have been nurtured by regular people-to-people exchanges and close cultural interactions which date back to the 15th century.

"We appreciate by the strong tradition of Indology that has prevailed in Poland. Polish people have always evinced interest in Indian culture, spirituality and traditions. Polish scholars have been visiting India over the centuries to study Sanskrit, religion, philosophy; and some Sanskrit classics have been translated into Polish," said Prakash.

The first Chair of Sanskrit studies was established in Krakow more than a century ago in 1893. The Indology Department in the Oriental Institute of the University of Warsaw has been functioning since 1932.

Our Indian Council for Cultural Relations has been supporting the Chair and been sending teachers for Hindi and Tamil. Chairs on Indian studies have also been established in other cities of Poland. Similarly, Polish is being taught in Delhi University since 2009.

The spokesperson said that Indian and Poland established diplomatic relations in 1954, and the ties have flourished over the decades. We have had regular high-level exchanges.

The President of India, paid a state visit to Poland in April last year, when amongst others she also met with Prime Minister Tusk. A Parliamentary Friendship Group has been constituted between the two countries.

Poland, is also our largest trading partner and export destination in the Central-European region. It has been a member of EU since 2004, and is one of the important gateways into the European Union and CIS. By the way, Poland will assume the Presidency of EU in the second half of 2011, said Vishnu Prakash.

He said our bilateral trade has maintained an upward trajectory, having grown seven times in the last ten years. It touched an all-time high of over 1.2 billion dollars in 2008, but dipped slightly in 2009 due to global economic downturn.

He informed over 20 Indian companies, have invested in Poland.

These include Videocon, Escorts, Reliance, Ranbaxy, Essel Propac. In IT services, all our IT majors are there including Infosys, TCS. We have Tata Tetley, Berger Paints, Arcolabs, and so on.

"These are indicative of the robust economic and trade relations between India and Poland," said the spokesperson.

Polish companies too have manufacturing facilities in India in areas like hygiene and sanitary products, metal packaging, air-conditioning systems; and they have been offering services in oil exploration and extraction.

"A number of important bilateral agreements underpin our relationship. These include the Bilateral Promotion and Protection Agreement on investments, the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement, an extradition treaty, a defence cooperation agreement and agreement on science and technology," he further informed.

"Currently, we have good cooperation in other important sectors like science and technology, defence, culture, people-to-people exchanges. And there is good potential which both sides want to harness, in furthering cooperation in areas like energy, engineering, mining, and so on," said Vishnu Prakash.

"Our agreement on science and technology cooperation was signed in 1993 and is doing well. Our Defence Minister visited Poland in November 2004 when a Joint Working Group of Defence Cooperation was established and has been meeting regularly. The last meeting took place in Warsaw in April this year," he said.

Vishnu Prakash further stated: "We also have a cultural exchange programme. I have already alluded to some of the important facets of our cultural exchanges. Interestingly we find that Bollywood is becoming popular in Poland." (ANI)

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