India-Czech to collaborate in manufacturing
New Delhi, Mar 12 : Acknowledging the Czech expertise in the field of engineering sector, especially automotives, Union Commerce, Industry and Textiles Minister Anand Sharma, in a meeting with Martin Kuba, Czech Minister of Industry and Trade, invited Czech investment into the proposed National Investment Manufacturing Zones in India.
"Owing to the fact that the Czech Republic is strong in manufacturing generally and heavy engineering in particular - metallurgy, machine tools, defence equipment, we invite its automotives which accounts for 24 per cent of Czech manufacturing, to invest in NIMZs in India," conveyed Sharma to Kuba in the meeting held here on Tuesday.
Sharma, while appreciating the reputation of the Czech Republic in the field of technology, emphasised the need for institutional engagement for collaboration in the field of science and technology.
"The thrust in our bilateral ties would be to focus on accelerating cooperation in advanced and niche technologies in which the Czech Republic has special capabilities," said Sharma.
The Indian Minister also expressed satisfaction at the ongoing projects in the field of lasers and put stress on the need for bright engineers and scientists from both countries to be provided an enabling environment by the Czech and Indian sides to further cooperation in high technology areas.
While discussing the issue of cooperation in metal-cutting machine tools, Sharma conveyed to the Czech Minister the opportunities the Czech companies could explore for collaborations with Indian companies.
He also apprised Kuba about the participation of Czech companies in the Indian Metal-cutting Machine Tool exhibition (IMTEX), which was held in Bangalore from Jan 24-30.
Thirteen Czech companies participated in IMTEX 2013, which is the largest exhibition of metal-cutting machine tools in South and South-East Asia which showcases exhaustive range of innovations in the product segment of metal-cutting machine tools.
The two Ministers also discussed issues regarding defence cooperation.
Sharma conveyed to the Czech Minister that both the countries could build an enduring defence relationship that could include joint research, development and production of weapons systems.
"The rapid up-gradation of Czech industry, defense production facilities make state-of-the-art products namely defence equipment, passive and active electronic intelligence & surveillance systems, radars, trainer aircraft, high-mobility all purpose vehicles, modernisation of Soviet-era tanks, field hospitals and logistics open gives leverage to the strong Czech interest in promoting sales to India in these areas of specialisation," said Sharma.
He further said that a Joint Working Group (JWG) on Advanced Manufacturing and Heavy Engineering is scheduled later this month.
He also conveyed that a JWG on Skills and Innovation and on Mining are expected to take place later this year.
The total bilateral trade between India and the Czech Republic in 2012 stood at USD 957.47 million as compared to USD 992.42 million in 2011.
Sharma said that although there has been some decline in bilateral trade figures, due to the global economic scenario, "the outlook for the future is promising and avenues in job producing manufacturing units in both the countries should be seriously explored".