Home News Indian Ambassador to HN: You are a traditional market especially for our textile, medical and footwear products

Indian Ambassador to HN: You are a traditional market especially for our textile, medical and footwear products

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Indian Ambassador to HN: You are a traditional market especially for our textile, medical and footwear products

In which segments do you see the greatest potential for the development of economic and trade relations between Slovakia and India?

I will start by saying that the bilateral relations between India and the Slovak Republic are excellent, but there is huge untapped potential in areas such as defence, the automotive industry and auto parts, where both countries complement each other. In the defense sector, it is necessary to change cooperation from “buyer and seller” to “joint collaborator, co-developer and co-producer”. There is also room for cooperation between Ayurveda and a number of spas in Slovakia.

India is fast becoming the new technology powerhouse…

Yes, and that’s why other areas of interest are the pharmaceutical sector, renewable energy and artificial intelligence. Indians can also significantly fill the gap between demand and supply of unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled labor in Slovakia and thus contribute positively to your country.

How would you evaluate the February trip of the head of Slovak diplomacy, Juraj Blanár, to India? Can we already see its concrete results today?

The recent visit of Foreign Minister Juraj Blanár to India was extremely successful from both a political and a business point of view. Meetings with our Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Defense Production Secretary Giridhar Araman were excellent, reviewing the entire gamut of relations and discussing new areas of cooperation.

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Numerous representatives of Slovak business also took part in the trip…

The minister was accompanied by a large 22-member delegation of trade and arms companies, for whom B2B meetings were organized with their Indian partners. Mr. Blanár also participated in the ninth Raisina Dialogue conference and the second CII India Europe Business & Sustainability conclave. During this trip, a Memorandum of Understanding was also signed between the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and the Office for Standardization, Metrology and Testing of the Slovak Republic. All in all, it was a comprehensive visit that strengthened our bilateral relations in all major sectors of cooperation.

You mentioned that Indians can significantly fill the gap between labor demand and supply. It is true that young talented people from your country are making a name for themselves in various industries around the world. Does this also apply to Slovakia and is their number increasing in our country?

We are proud of our 35 million Indian diaspora around the world. Although the numbers are not so significant in Slovakia, they are increasing. Between 2020 and 2023, the number of Indians in Slovakia increased approximately 3.6 times – from almost a thousand to over 3,600 people. About 500 students study at technical universities, but most Indians work here in various positions in the automotive and engineering industries. Their representation in specialized professions and the number of Indian drivers in logistics also increased. With the government’s recent decision to grant expedited visas to Indian nationals in selected work areas in Slovakia, these numbers are likely to increase.

What role does Slovakia play for Indian investors in Central Europe? Are we among the important markets?

Indian companies have long been investing abroad, including in Europe. In Slovakia, a shining example of Indian investments is the state-of-the-art Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) automobile plant belonging to the Tata Motors group with an investment of 1.4 billion euros and an annual production capacity of 150,000 vehicles, which employs 4,800 people. Another important Indian company, CK Birla Group, through its company National Engineering Industries (NEI), bought Slovak Kinex Bearings in January 2020. Similarly, India’s Amara Raja Group invested in InoBat Auto in December 2021. However, there are also investments by Tata Consultancy Services & Dhoot transmission.

Are you satisfied with this investment level?

I think there is still a lot of scope to attract more investment from India, especially in the IT and automation sectors. This could be achieved through greater interaction between entrepreneurs from both countries. The recent visit of Minister Blanár to India, where he took a business delegation, was a great step from this point of view. This year we plan to invite Indian investors and entrepreneurs to Slovakia.

Now let’s look at the level of trade exchange. Are her numbers growing?

Bilateral trade between our two countries is currently at the level of 858 million euros. Its volume has increased by 140 percent over the past three years. Given this trend, I am confident that our goal of reaching one billion euros worth of business in the next two years will be met sooner.

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Which Indian products are the most successful on the Slovak market? Fruit is generally popular, especially mangoes, but are other products gaining ground as well?

Slovakia is a traditional market for textile, medical and footwear products from India. With the rapid development of the manufacturing sector in India, products from the automotive, engineering, electrical, pharmaceutical and chemical industries are also on the rise. However, there is great potential to import agricultural products and garments and textiles from India.

Conversely, what Slovak products are Indian consumers interested in?

The strength of the automotive industry in Slovakia is reflected in the fact that passenger cars accounted for almost a third of total exports to India in 2023. This is followed by various engineering and electrical products. However, there is great potential to export original and innovative products and technologies to India.

Do you see room for development in the field of tourism as well? Where would you invite Slovak tourists to India?

Of course, there is huge potential in the development of tourism, in both directions. India, with its rich cultural heritage, diverse landscape and traditions, offers travelers a variety of experiences. From the majestic Himalayas in the north to the beautiful beaches, the golden Thar desert in the west to the calm backwaters of Kerala in the south, from bustling cities like Delhi and Mumbai to the historic cities of Jaipur, Agra and Varanasi to ancient temples, luxurious historic hotels, palaces, Ayurvedic spas and architectural monuments – India boasts a wide range of tourist attractions.

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