Polish PM Donald Tusk to woo Indian business during state visit

Warsaw, Sep 2 (Calcutta Tube) Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk will woo Indian business during his three-day state visit to India that starts Sep 6 as the country ‘is a role model not only for Poland but for the European Union’, a former ambassador said.

This will be the first official visit of a non-Communist Polish prime minister to India. Tusk will first go Sep 6 to Bangalore where he will deliver a speech to the Indian business leaders and he will proceed the same evening to New Delhi.

Krzystof Mrozwewicz, who was Polish ambassador to India from 1997 to 2001, told IANS: ‘We are proud of our friendship with India. India has taught us many things in political as well as economic sphere. In a sense India is a role model not only for Poland but for the European Union. The unity in diversity is a clear example of India which the EU is learning fast.’

The purpose of the business meeting, which is being organised by the Polish Agency for Foreign Investment, is to encourage Indian investment in Poland.

Ever since Poland joined the European Union in April 2004, this largest East European nation has received considerable attention from the Indian business community. Trade between the two countries has jumped to more than a billion dollars in 2009 from a paltry $200 million in 2004.

The democratic set-up and free economy make Poland a desired business destination.

Many Indian companies including Wipro, Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and Zensar have set up their European headquarters in Polish territory. Laxmi Mittal owns 70 percent of steel production in Poland under the Arcor-Mittal group of companies.

Cheap Polish technical manpower and the good connectivity of Poland to other European cities are the major factors for Indian exporters.

J.J. Singh, president of the Indo-Polish Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: ‘The business climate is very conducive for Indians to flourish in Poland. Indians are well regarded in Poland. Their hard work and their culture background have appealed to the Poles tremendously.’

Bollywood films have carved a niche in Polish psyche and Shah Rukh Khan is an idol for youth, he said.

‘Indian food has become very popular throughout Poland. There are 32 Indian restaurants in the Polish capital. Indian samosas, kababs and biryani are well-known dishes for the Poles who now have a taste for Indian spices,’ said Singh who helped establish a Sikh gurudwara in Warsaw, the only gurudwara in the whole of Eastern Europe, including Russia.

No Indian prime minister has visited Poland since July 1979 when Morarji Desai had come on a state visit. However, Indian presidents have been on a state visit to Poland periodically. In May 2009, President Pratibha Patil had come on a state visit to Poland.

Boguslaw Zakrzwski, a former ambassador and an Indophile, told IANS: ‘It is high time that there should be a direct air connection from Delhi to Warsaw…There is a sizeable Indian community in Poland and then there are 16,000 Poles who go to India for business or pleasure trips annually. If there is a direct connection the tourists from both the countries will be highly benefited.’

Both India and Poland have traditionally been good friends.

During the liberation of Bangladesh, Poland stood steadfastly with India. In fact, it was the second country to recognise Bangladesh as a sovereign state after India.

(Surender Bhutani can be reached at suren84in@yahoo.com)

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