India, Czech Republic discuss defence, commerce ties

New Delhi, Dec 19 (IANS) India and the Czech Republic on Monday discussed the entire gamut of their bilateral relationship, stressing on defence and commercial ties.

At a meeting between Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar and visiting Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek here, the two sides discussed bilateral issues as well as important global and regional issues of mutual interest, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs.

“India and Czech Republic have robust economic ties, with annual bilateral trade being $1.2 billion. Additionally, a number of Indian and Czech companies have invested in each otheras country,” it said.

“There is a mechanism of Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation co-chaired by Minister of State for Commerce and Industry of India and Minister of Trade and Industry of Czech Republic from the respective sides, for discussing the ways and means of strengthening economic ties.”

According to the statement, defence cooperation is an important component in India-Czech ties.

“There is a mechanism of India-Czech Joint Defence Committee meetings that met last in November 2016. There is a Joint Working Group on heavy engineering; the last JWG (Joint Working Group) meeting took place in October 2016,” it said.

The two countries also have a cultural exchange programme and an education exchange programme and engage regularly in discussions on cooperation in science and technology and research and development.

“Minister Zaoralek and Minister M.J. Akbar discussed in detail the possibility of further cooperation in these crucial sectors of mutual interest,” the statement said.

“The two Ministers held discussions also on major global issues such as climate change, Sustainable Development Goals, United Nations reforms, terrorism, Multilateral Export Control Regime etc.”

They also exchanged views on important developments in the neighbouring regions of both countries.

The last visit of the Czech Foreign Minister to India was in 2013, the Czech Minister of Trade and Industry visited in January 2015 and the Czech Defence Minister in March 2016.