President Kovind’s maiden 8-day 3-nation visit to Cyprus, Bulgaria & Czech Republic

On September 9, 2018, President Ram Nath Kovind returned from his 8 day 3 nation tour to Cyprus, Bulgaria and Czech Republic that commenced from 2nd of September.

Objective:
To further strengthen trade and business relations and improving people to people contact.

Highlights:
i. This was his first overseas state visit in the second year of his presidency.
ii. The timeline of the official tour of the President is as follows:

  • He visited Cyprus from September 2-4, 2018.
  • He visited Bulgaria from September 4-6,2018,
  • visited Czech Republic from September 6-9, 2018.

iiiHe was accompanied by Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare and Panchayati Raj, Shri Purushottam Rupala Ji and Hon’ble members of Parliament Shri Sunil Kumar Singh Ji and Shri Ram Shakal along with other senior government officials.

President’s Visit to Cyprus:

On September 2, 2018, President Kovind reached Cyprus and started his 2 day tour till September 4, 2018 at the invitation of the President of Cyprus, His Excellency Mr. Nicos Anastasiades.

Meeting with the President of Cyprus Mr . Nicos Anastasiades:
On September 2, 2018, President Kovind met with his counterpart President Nicos Anasrasiades. The following discussions took place:

  • Exchanged views on economic cooperation,
  • Decision on revision of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement made in 2016,
  • Signed agreements on money laundering and on cooperation in the field of environment,
  • MoU between Financial Intelligence Unit, India and Unit for Combating Money Laundering of Cyprus. 
  • Discussion on promotion of business collaboration in the fields of IT and IT enabled services, tourism, shipping and renewable energy

Meeting with Mr. Demetris Syllouris, President of the House of Representatives
On September 3, 2018, the President met with Mr. Demetris Syllouris, President of the House of Representatives and addressed a session of the House of Representatives.

  • During his address to the House of Representatives of Cyprus, the President invited Cyprus’ contribution to India’s economic growth.
  • The sectors highlighted for investments were:
  • Power and energy, highways, ports and shipping and tourism.
  • He also mentioned the projects under the Digital India mission, Smart Cities mission.
  • He acknowledged Cyprus’ support to India for UN Security Council and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership.
  • He said that India is awaiting Cyprus’ support for finalising the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the United Nations.

President of India addressed the University of Cyprus:

  • On September 4, 2018, the President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, delivered an address at the University of Cyprus.
  • The theme of the address was “Youth, Technology and Ideas: Shaping the Contours of the 21st Century”.

Other Important News:

  • President Kovind offered floral tributes to Mahatma Gandhi’s  bust  and  Archbishop Makarios’s statute at the premises of Cypriot parliament.
  • President Kovind invited President Anastasiades to attend Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary celebrations in India on October 2.

Cyprus:
♦ Capital: Nicosia.
♦ Currency: Euro
♦ President: Mr . Nicos Anastasiades
♦ Cyprus is the eighth largest investor in India and bilateral trade stands at around $8.2 billion.

Visit to Bulgaria:

On September 4, 2018, President Kovind was received by Deputy Prime Minister of Bulgaria Ivo Hristov and met the President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev and the First Lady at Sofia, Bulgaria.
The visit to Bulgaria is taking place after a gap of 15 years.

President Kovind’s maiden 8-day 3-nation visit to Cyprus, Bulgaria & Czech Republic2Adressed the Indian Community:
On September 4, 2018, the President of India addressed the Indian community at Sofia.

  • This was hosted by Ms Pooja KapurAmbassador of India to the Republic of Bulgaria and the Friends of India organization participated in the event.
  • He acknowledged Friends of India for creating a network of cultural and academic institutions, yoga schools and ayurveda centres in Bulgaria.
  • He also invited the Indian Community to participate in the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas to be held in Varanasi in January 2019. 

Attending the Bulgarian Business Forum:

  • On September 4, 2018, President Kovind and Bulgarian President attended a business forum.
  • It was attended by 60 business people and about 250 Bulgarian business representatives .

Meeting with  President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev:
On September 5, 2018, President Ram Nath Kovind visited the Saint Alexander Nevski Square where he was received by President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev. They held bilateral discussions on political relations and building an economic partnership.
i. During the meeting India and Bulgaria signed 5 MoUs on various sectors. They were:

  • An agreement between Invest India and Invest Bulgaria
  • An agreement on cooperation in and facilitation of tourism
  • An agreement on enhanced science and technology cooperation
  • An agreement on civil nuclear research and cooperation
  • An agreement between the Indian Council of Cultural Relations and Sofia University to promote Hindi studies

ii. President Kovind and Bulgarian President Radev unveiled Mahatma Gandhi’s statue Sofia’s South Park.
iii. The statue was conceived and erected by renowned Bulgarian sculptor Ivan Rusev.

Addressing the students at Sofia University
On September 5, 2018, on the eve of Teachers’ Day in India, President delivered an address at Sofia University .

  • The theme was: “Education as an Instrument of Change and Shared Prosperity”.
  • He also acknowledged the Indology Department of Sofia University has been working for 35 years and has translated eight of the principal Upanishads from Sanskrit into Bulgarian.

Meeting With Bulgarian Prime Minister:
On September 6, 2018, President Kovind met Bulgarian Prime Miniter Boyko Borissov.

  • He invites Bulgarian companies to manufacture in India as part of the ‘Make in India’ programme.
  • He invited them to collaborate in artificial intelligence, data analytics, the internet of things, robotics and nano-technology and defence.

Bulgaria:
♦ Capital: Sofia.
♦ Currency: Bulgarian lev.
♦ President: Rumen Radev.
♦ Prime Minister: Miniter Boyko Borissov.
♦ The bilateral trade between India and Bulgaria stands at just over USD 300 million.

Visit to Czech Republic:

On September 6, 2018, President Kovind reached Prague, Czech Republic.

President Kovind’s maiden 8-day 3-nation visit to Cyprus, Bulgaria & Czech RepublicAddressed the Indian community:

  • On September 6, 2018, President Kovind addressed the Indian Community at Prague.
  • It was hosted by Smt Narinder ChauhanAmbassador of India to the Czech Republic.

Meeting with the President of Czech Republic  Milos Zeman:
On September 7, 2018, President Kovind met his counterpart Mr. Milos Zeman.
i. They held talks on the topics of : in the fields of defence, technology and manufacture, business and trade and terrorism.
ii. 5 MoU s were signed between India and Czech Republic . They were:

  • Cooperation between the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, India, and the Czech Academy of Sciences
  • A work plan to support Indo-Czech projects in diverse areas of science and technology, with the Department of Science and Technologytaking the lead from the Indian side
  • A visa waiver agreement for diplomatic passport holders
  • Cooperation in laser technology between ELI Beamlinesand the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
  • Cooperation between the Haryana Agricultural Universityand the Czech University of Life Sciences

iii. Another Mou is being worked out in the field of civil nuclear energy between Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership, Jhajjar, Haryana, and a relevant Czech institution.
iv. He also acknowledged the government’s efforts for mobility of high-skilled Indian workers and business executives on a long-term basis.
v. Initially limited to 500 visas a year, the new procedure will come into effect in October 2018.

Addressed the India-Czech Business Forum:
On September 7, 2018, President addressed members of the India-Czech Republic Business Forum in Prague.

  • He invited Czech companies to the vast market of heavy engineering, defence, advanced manufacturing, and automotive and energy technologies.
  • He also invited Czech defence companies to invest and manufacture in India.
  • Urged better ideas to boost bilateral trade between the countries in the Joint India-Czech Economic Commission, to be held in Prague in October 2018.

Meeting with PM Mr Andrej Babis:

  • On September 7, 2018, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Mr Andrej Babis, and the President of the House of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, Mr Radek Vondracek, also called on President Kovind.
  • They discussed closer defence and business relations and the scope for Czech manufacturing companies to partner with India.

President of India attends a roundtable of Czech Indologists at Charles University in Prague

  • On September 8, 2018, President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, attended a roundtable discussion of Indologists at Charles University in Prague.
  • Invited delegates of the Charles University to join celebrations of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Czech Republic:
♦ Capital: Prague.
♦ Currency: Czech koruna.
♦ President: Mr. Milos Zeman
♦ Prime Minister: Mr. Andrej Babis.