Czech PM to be chief guest at Vibrant Gujarat summit

The Czech PM’s visit coincides with an ongoing diplomatic dialogue over Nikhil Gupta, accused of plotting the murder of Khalistan activist Pannun

January 04, 2024 01:33 am | Updated 07:09 am IST - GANDHINAGAR/NEW DELHI

The PM of Czech Republic Petr Fiala is expected to be the Guest of Honour at the 10th Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit to be held from January 10-12. File photo

The PM of Czech Republic Petr Fiala is expected to be the Guest of Honour at the 10th Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit to be held from January 10-12. File photo | Photo Credit: AFP

The Prime Minister of Czech Republic Petr Fiala is expected to be the Guest of Honour at the 10th Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit to be held from January 10-12 in Gandhinagar. Besides PM Fiala, Timor-Leste’s President José Ramos-Horta, President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi will also be attending. The Prime Minister will open the event on January 10th in Gandhinagar. 

“The Prime Minister of Czech Republic has confirmed participation. The Czech Republic is also a partner country in the 10th Summit,” a senior official said, adding that the global event will have participants from over 30 countries. 

Czech PM Andrew Babis attended the last summit in 2019. The current spotlight around PM Fiala’s visit is linked to the arrest by Czech authorities of an Indian national named Nikhil Gupta on June 30, 2023. They were acting on a request from the US government.

The US authorities have accused Mr. Gupta of conspiring to kill pro-Khalistan advocate Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in New York. 

Indian held by Czechs

India has been talking to the Czech Republic on the matter and the Indian embassy in Prague was granted diplomatic access to Mr. Gupta on three occasions. The matter may figure in talks with Mr. Fiala when he visits India.

The biennial event has become a crucial platform for policymakers, diplomats, business leaders, investors, and corporates to foster collaborations, and partnerships and explore investment opportunities. This year’s guests reflect India’s evolving diplomatic priorities. The UAE is a close commercial partner and President Al Nahyan has been in frequent contact with the Indian leadership, especially in the context of the ongoing Israeli campaign in Gaza. The Gulf nation has reportedly started the process of investing $2 billion to build food parks in India which is part of the I2U2 agreement among India, Israel, USA and the United Arab Emirates. Gujarat is expected to be the first to have food parks with investment from the UAE.

The presence of the President of Timor Leste is similarly indicative of growing relations with the island nation in Southeast Asia, which is the focus of an Indian diplomatic initiative. The PM announced India’s decision to open a diplomatic mission in Timor Leste during the ASEAN-India summit on September 7, 2023. Following the announcement, Minister of State for External Affairs Rajkumar Ranjan Singh visited Timor Leste from September 30-October 3.

Partner countries

As many as 28 countries and 14 organisations have so far confirmed that they will be partners in the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit (VGGS) 2024, the state government said. The theme for the 10th edition of the VGGS is ‘Gateway to the Future’. It will be held in Gandhinagar from January 10 to 12.

Countries that agreed to join as partners are: Australia, Bangladesh, Czech Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Malta, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Singapore, Tanzania, Thailand, the UAE, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Ghana, and Vietnam.

Partner organisations include the American Chamber of Commerce in India (AMCHAM India) EPIC India-University of Chicago, Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC), Indo-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, International Solar Alliance, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), and Korea Trade and Investment Agency, among others, it said.

“Each partner country and organisation plays a pivotal role in strengthening bilateral relations by contributing towards the success of the VGGS,” the government said.

State government officials said partner countries and organisations will bring in high level delegations consisting of political functionaries, policy makers, bureaucrats and diplomats besides business executives. They have played an important role in promoting the VGGS on various platforms to further enhance collaboration, trade, and investment opportunities. “Over the last nine editions of the summit, partner countries and organisations have also contributed towards high-profile representation and stimulating response to the summit in terms of socio-economic and cultural collaborations,” the release said.

The VGGS creates an effective platform to attract investment with a focus on emerging sectors like semiconductors, green hydrogen, e-mobility, renewable energy, and FinTech among others. 

“Crucial to the summit’s success, partner countries and organisations contribute by actively participating in sectoral and country seminars, in alignment with the overarching vision of Viksit Bharat@2047,” the release added.

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