Statements, Speeches, Interviews

Briefing by Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs on the visit of Hon'ble President to Spain and Poland

17th April, 2009

Official Spokesperson (Shri Vishnu Prakash): Good evening and a very warm welcome to all of you. As you know, Hon´ble Rashtrapatiji is going on a State visit to Spain and then to Poland. Secretary (West) Mr. Nalin Surie is here to brief you about the President´s visit. He will be making an opening statement and, thereafter, he will be very happy to take some questions. To Secretary (West)´s right, we have Officer on Special Duty for Public Relations from President´s Secretariat Ms Archana Dutta.

Sir, the floor is yours.

Secretary (West) (Shri Nalin Surie): Thank you Vishnu, and thank you all for coming this afternoon.

Rashrapatiji will pay a State Visit to Spain and Poland from 20-27 April, 2009. Her first stop will be in Spain and thereafter Poland, from where she will return directly to New Delhi. This is the first ever State Visit by the President of India to Spain and the fourth State Visit by an Indian President to Poland.

Rashtrapatiji would be accompanied by her husband, Dr. Devisingh Ramsingh Shekhawat. Other members include Hon´ble Dr. Ashwani Kumar, Minister of State, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, three Members of Parliament (Shri Shreegopal Vyas, Rajya Sabha and Smt. C.S. Sujatha and Smt. Ingrid Mcleod, both of the Lok Sabha) and an official delegation. A combined business team comprising members of CII, FICCI and ASSOCHAM and media persons will also be part of the Hon´ble President´s delegation.

Both in Madrid and Warsaw, Rashtrapatiji will be received with full State honours. In Madrid, Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain and in Poland, the President of Poland and Mrs. Kaczynska will host banquets in her honour. In both countries, in addition to discussions with her counterparts, Rashtraptiji will hold discussions with the respective Prime Ministers. We expect to sign two-three agreements each with both countries. These are agreements that would help further diversify the already close relations that exist between India and Spain & Poland. India´s relations with both these countries are multifaceted. Our effort is to deepen and diversify these.

Spain joined the European Union in 1984. It is the eighth largest economy in the world and has emerged since the mid 1970s as an effective democracy. It is our sixth largest export market in the EU. We see great potential for expanding our trade and investment links with her. It also has close interaction with the countries of Latin America, a region of the world with which our ties are also expanding rapidly.

Poland joined the European Union in 2004 and is also a revived and flourishing democracy. We have a history of close relations with it. There is a thriving school of Indology in cities such as Krakow and Warsaw and our trade and economic interaction is growing well.

In both countries, Rashtrapatiji will address meetings between our business delegation and business delegations from Spain & Poland. She will also address members of the Indian community in these two countries. We see further opportunities for collaboration between India on the one hand and Spain & Poland on the other in the fields of trade, investment, S&T, culture, defence, renewable energy, health and the fight against terrorism. You would recall that both Spain and Poland were supportive of India´s quest for civil nuclear energy. We also cooperate well in multilateral organizations.

Both Spain and Poland are important members of the European Union with whom we have a Strategic Partnership, a comprehensive Joint Action Plan and annual Summit meetings. Both countries are instrumental in helping us further strengthen the growing partnership between India and the European Union. Spain will hold the EU Presidency in the first half of 2010 at which time we will hold the Troika meeting at Ministerial level.

Rashtrapatiji´s visit to Spain and Poland is not only a signal of the importance that we attach to our relations with these two countries but also with the European Union. It is also reflective of our desire to sustain our high level bilateral engagement with Europe and to diversify our ties into new areas. There is much that we have to do together to jointly address major international issues such as terrorism, the current global financial and economic crisis etc.

Thank you.