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India invites Czech defence companies to set-up joint ventures

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PRAGUE (PTI): President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday invited Czech defence companies to take advantage of the opening of defence manufacturing sector in India and set-up joint ventures to produce for the country and for rest of the world.

President Kovind after holding talks with his Czech counterpart Milos Zeman said there is immense potential for India-Czech defence collaboration to meet the growing requirements of the Indian defence industry.

During the meeting, they took stock of the ongoing defence co-operation, the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

The two countries signed five MoUs including between the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, India and the Czech Academy of Sciences; on work plan for support of Indo-Czech projects in diverse areas of science and technology; on visa waiver agreement for diplomatic passport holders and between ELI Beamlines and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in the field of Laser Technology.

President Kovind, who arrived here Thursday on the final leg of his three-nation European tour, said India values the Czech Republic as an important trade, technology and investment partner.

"The Czech strengths in manufacturing and advanced technology make it a natural fit to partner Indian growth and next-generation development," he said.

He said Czech major Skoda Auto and its parent company Volkswagen have announced plans to invest USD 1 billion in India under the 'Make in India' initiative.

"President Zeman and I committed today to write a new chapter in our trading relations," he said.

He said India-Czech Joint Economic Commission meeting to be held next month at the Ministerial level, will deliberate in detail and take steps to enhance trade and investment cooperation and diversify the partnership into new areas.

"India and the Czech Republic share historical, warm and friendly relations. My state visit is aimed at deepening our economic relations spread over trade, technology and investment collaboration. In our discussions, President Zeman and I, reviewed progress in our bilateral relations and discussed the roadmap for the future," he said.

"I sense high enthusiasm in the business community on both sides to engage and build robust partnerships in sectors such as defence, high-tech manufacturing, heavy engineering, automotive industry and civil aviation," he said.

The president said there is high enthusiasm in the business community on both sides to engage and build robust partnerships in sectors such as defence, high-tech manufacturing, heavy engineering, automotive industry and civil aviation.

"I thank the Czech side for recognising the need to enhance the mobility of Indian professionals and students into the Czech Republic to upscale economic partnership. We look forward to the launch of Special Procedures for Highly Qualified Employees meant for India in October 2018," he said.

He said the two countries look forward to initiating co-operation for peaceful use of nuclear energy between the Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership, India and a relevant institution on the Czech side.

"We emphasised the importance of cooperation on defence and security. We committed to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. I thank President Zeman for his express support for an early adoption of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the UN. We also agreed to further deepen our multi-lateral partnership."

He thanked the Czech side for supporting India's claim for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council and its membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.


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