State visit by Indian President seeks to expand ties with Czech businesses

Miloš Zeman, Ram Nath Kovind, photo: ČTK/Michal Kamaryt

Indian President, Ram Nath Kovind, is meeting with both the Czech President and Prime Minister this Friday. Representatives of over 50 Indian enterprises are arriving alongside Kovind to take part in a specially organised forum with their Czech counterparts, focused on deepening trade and business ties. Collaboration in research and development is also to be discussed.

Miloš Zeman,  Ram Nath Kovind,  photo: ČTK/Michal Kamaryt
On Friday morning Indian President Ram Nath Kovind was welcomed with full military honours at Prague Castle by Czech President, Miloš Zeman. The two discussed a range of issues including defence and the current situation on India’s north eastern border.

Most important on the range of topics however, is the expansion of business ties between the two states. India is one of the biggest trading partners of the Czech Republic in Asia. The total value of Czech export to the subcontinent is worth over 600m euros and Czech investment into India is also on the rise.

To solidify and expand this relationship, the Indian President is accompanied by a delegation of over 50 business representatives. These will be looking to seal trade deals with their Czech counterparts at a specially organised business forum, running in parallel to the visit.

Karel Havlíček, Chairman of the Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises of the Czech Republic, is one of the men involved in setting out the framework for the upcoming discussions.

“We would like to present to the Indian President our new project of developing a Czech industrial cluster in Bangalore. This will be an industrial centre of medium sized Czech businesses on the sub-continent. We also want to open up discussions about Czech investment in India and the activities of our small hub in Bangalore, called the "Push Back Hub", which we opened up two years ago.”

One of the companies partaking in the business forum discussions is the famous Czech vehicle manufacturer Tatra Trucks, which announced it will be signing a strategic memorandum of understanding with Indian heavy equipment manufacturer BEML.

Its Press Secretary, Andrej Čírtek, discussed the company’s goal at the ongoing meetings.

Photo: Tatra Trucks
“Thanks to the publicity of this memorandum and our other ongoing negotiations we hope to penetrate the civilian market in India, which is both huge and very competitive. We are currently very successful as a supplier for the Indian ministry of defence, but that civilian market offers us whole new possibilities for business development.”

Havlíček has high hopes for the results in the area of research and development cooperation, which will be discussed in more detail when President Kovind meets with Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš on Friday evening.

“The Prime Minister of the Czech Republic is also the Chairman of the Government’s R&D Council. I think he will therefore be especially open to collaboration of Czech entrepreneurs and universities with Indian organisations in the areas of science and development”.