Cech Republic has historical ties with India — Kovind

Prague: The Czech Republic, a manufacturing “powerhouse” with advanced technology base, can be a key partner for India’s development initiatives, President Ram Nath Kovind has said, referring to footwear major Bata, a brand with which all Indians have grown up.

Addressing the Indian community here on Thursday, the president said India has some very interesting connections with this city and this country.

“Many of you would know that Bata, a brand with which all Indians have grown up and which all of us consider our own, has its roots in this country,” he said.

“A great son of the Czech Republic, Thomas Bata founded the Bata shoe company in a town not far from Prague. And from here it spread to every nook and corner of the world including Batanagar, close to Kolkata in India. Bata shoes today walk in every village, every town and every city in India,” President Kovind said.

Recalling other connections with this city, he said, “Our great leader Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose visited Prague and spent some time here. In his quest for freedom for his motherland, he founded the Indo-Czech Association in Prague in 1934.”

He said India is keen to strengthen and diversify its relations with the Czech Republic as there are numerous opportunities for businesses to grow both ways — be it trade, technology or investment.

“This is not just a beautiful country, but a country with a large heart for India and for Indians. We have warm and friendly relations with the Czech Republic. Our ties go back a thousand years when traders from Bohemia bought spices and silk from India,” the president said.

“Both our countries have inherited a rich cultural heritage, which has gained vibrancy over the years. The Charles University here is the oldest centre of Indology in Europe. Eminent Czech scholars brought the works of Rabindranath Tagore to the Czech people and helped foster a deep cultural connect with India.”

The installation of the bust of Rabindranath Tagore, in Prague, and naming the tram station “Thakurova” after him, is homage to Gurudev and to his poetic genius, he said.

He said, “the Czech Republic, a manufacturing powerhouse with advanced technology base, can be a key partner for our Make In India, Digital India, Start-up India and other national programmes.”

“We seek your support in this endeavour. Your professional experience, convening power, and entrepreneurial spirit can make this partnership blossom,” he said.

President Kovind arrived in the Czech Republic Thursday on the final leg of his three-nation European tour.



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