| Leszek Miller at Rashtrapati Bhavan. (AFP)
New Delhi, Feb. 17: Visiting Polish Prime Minister Leszek Miller today called for deepening and strengthening economic cooperation between the two countries and urged Indian investors to take advantage of the economic liberalisation and invest in Poland.
Indicating keenness to build closer ties, the two sides today signed four agreements, including two on defence cooperation and joint investment, an extradition treaty and one to jointly combat organised international crime.
This is not only Miller’s first visit to India, but also the first Prime Ministerial visit between the two countries in 18 years. The visit shows Delhi’s eagerness in strengthening relations with Poland, which is a member of the Nato and is slated to enter the European Union next year, a clear indication of the country’s growing political and economic might.
Early in the day, the Polish Prime Minister made it clear that closer and stronger cooperation in the economic area will be one of the main thrusts of his visit and discussions with the Indian leadership.
“I wish to encourage Indian companies to visit Poland, to engage in indirect contacts with Polish companies. Let me assure you of the favourable attitude of the Polish government towards development of cooperation between Poland and India,” Miller said this afternoon while addressing the captains of the Indian business and industry at a meeting organised jointly by the CII and the Ficci.
Describing the present two-way trade between the two countries — which is around $ 250 million — Miller said that the traditional ties between India and Poland does not justify the figure which is “insufficient and should be improved rapidly and significantly”.
Miller said although many Indian companies had already made their presence felt in Poland and there were a number of Polish firms that had set up business in India, there was scope for much more for investors of the two countries.
Miller arrived here on Saturday and returned to Delhi after a visit to the Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri. He began his official delegation-level talks with his Indian counterpart Atal Bihari Vajpayee this afternoon.
The entire gamut of bilateral ties between the two sides came up for discussion, including the recent developments in Iraq.
The Polish Prime Minister, known to be a close friend of US President George W. Bush, however, argued that though the UN should try to amicably solve the crisis, force was required only if diplomatic persuasion failed to convince the Iraqi leadership to fully comply with the UN Security Council resolution.
The Indian side repeated its well-known stand on Iraq — that Delhi was against any unilateral decision and that the UN should be the final arbiter to resolve the crisis in Baghdad in a peaceful and amicable manner.
Till the early 1990s, Poland was the main supplier of battle tanks to Pakistan. But after India protested and lured it with the prospect of a bigger Indian market, the supply from Warsaw to Islamabad stopped.
Miller’s visit here is also to probe the Indian market, especially after the defence sector has been opened up. Polish expertise on ammunition, thermal imaging and night-vision equipment is well known.
Poland has also expressed keenness to invest in the Indian defence sector and the two agreements signed today help in both these areas.