Focus on Central European states' high-tech know-how

In tune with its strategy of focussing on Central European and former Warsaw Pact countries to acquire technological know-how and boost trade, India on Tuesday hosted Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikroski, who had extensive talks with External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna.

India has been giving attention to Central Europe, particularly former Warsaw Pact countries and breakaway countries of Yugoslavia, because they used to specialise in niche high technology areas.

“These countries have a very strong historical tradition from the Soviet days of being the lead country in some technology or the other,” said official sources.

In mid-June, India received the Prime Minister of Slovenia, with whom talks were held on the possibility of acquiring some nuclear related technologies. Slovenia gets 60 to 70 per cent of its electricity from nuclear power and the transfer of technology would be useful while India attempts to set up nuclear power parks based on French, American and Russian technologies.

India is similarly engaged with the Czech Republic, which is strong in certain specialised areas of nuclear technologies. India is also talking to Bulgaria and will be keen on a Presidential visit if there is interest by Sofia in that direction.

“With all these countries, the economic focus is stronger than political focus as compared to even five years ago. India is making them realise that their first perimeter is business within Europe. But Indian companies have come of age and it is time they accommodated them through a special treatment,” added the sources.

This was indicated by Mr. Sikroski who pointed out that this was his first visit to a non-European Union (EU) country since Poland took over the EU presidency on July 1.

Poland is the sixth largest EU economy and the 20th globally. India has been able to step up trade with Poland after the visit of its Prime Minister Donald Tusk in September last year.

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