Poland has been taking keen interest in increasing trade with India which is mirrored in the fact that several ministerial delegations have been visiting New Delhi regularly in the recent past and there are several others coming in the near future. Poland intends to intensify economic cooperation with India. It was in this context that THE BLUE MOON Editor Amit Mittal spoke to the Ambassador of Poland in India, Mr. Tomasz Lukaszuk in New Delhi. Some excerpts from the interview :
By the end of March we are concluding celebrations of 60 years of diplomatic relations between Poland and India. The celebrations were full of events, not only political, but also trade, investment and cultural and the main motto of 60th year anniversary of our diplomatic relations was community of values. This started under my predecessor, so my task was just to finish it and I would like to say that it was very challenging to follow his path. We started the celebrations with Poland – India energy summit which was attended by more than 200 businessmen from Poland and India. Mining and energy sectors were the biggest in the offer from Poland.
This followed Poland’s participation as a partner in the National Book Fair as guest of honour last year. The beginning was very strong and events of road shows of business were held in biggest cities of India. In June, the biggest ever Indian business delegation visited Poland in connection with the engineering exhibition in Poznan. These events in the first half of the year were enormous. If you ask me about my part, we have here the missions of Polish food processing sector with Deputy Minister, missions of mining sector and, last but not the least, we had the Deputy Prime minister with a business delegation for Vibrant Gujarat Summit. We had the visit of the Polish Minister for Environment and now in two weeks we are going to have Polish Minister for Agriculture.
Are you satisfied with the volume of trade between the two countries?
Business in our relations is very important. Every month we have an important business delegation. We will like to have major increase in our trade and investments. Our trade with India is two billion Euro only; it is a very small one. If you compare the trade with China, this is ten per cent of what we have with China. With India, we would like to double the trade in short term and increase it to 20 billion in long term. We will like to increase investments in India, past seven years we have invested $240 million and we will like to increase this figure, hopefully doubled. Speaking about Indian investment in Poland, certainly if we include Mr. Mittal’s investment, the figure is about one billion dollar and Indian companies such as Wipro, Tata, Infosys, Reliance all of them are present in Poland.
With doubled investment we will like to be a part of ‘make in India’, but certainly we will like India to be a part of ‘make in Poland’ as well. In our opinion we are complimentary to China and we can offer a lot of services and investments. In our opinion we can offer mining and energy, technology and services. We can offer food processing technology.
Business and investments are very important, but common values are based on culture and in our understanding culture is one of most important goods that we are exporting and that we are sharing with other countries including India. On the other hand India is also sharing its culture. We have a lot of poets and writers who won the Nobel prize and we are sharing this heritage with India. We are sharing the knowhow of conservation of historical monuments. We are sharing the history of our experience speaking about architectural museum. If you take a look at this embassy building from outside, this is one of the most beautiful buildings in the area. This is also a proof of what we are sharing. This building was designed forty years ago and, I am told that it bagged the prize for being the most beautiful building in New Delhi. It was designed by Polish architects, Denko and Cenckiewicz who are currently working in Krakow.
We have the paintings of Polish painter Stefan Norblin in the Palace of Jodhpur. An exhibition devoted to his masterpieces was also held in Delhi.
Yes, I have heard of these paintings being restored in the famous Umaid Bhawan Palace by Polish experts some time ago. Are there more of such restoration projects that Polish experts are handling in India.
Some restoration work has been taken up in Morvi area. We are looking forward to more cooperation in this field, because we are famous in many places like Egypt, Cambodia, Vietnam in conservation work.
Talking about our culture, recently Mrs. Maria Pomianowska played an instrument with the roots in India. The Polish instrument is very similar to Indian sting instrument ‘sarangi’. She played in several cities of India; Maria and Ustad Kamal Sabri have played together. Ustad Sabri is going to Poland for concerts with Maria.
Talking about culture, the Polish Academy of Fine Arts just signed a cooperation agreement with Indian National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad. A look at the posters displayed on the walls here you see horses. The best horses come from central Poland where you can buy one for 20000 us dollars, sometimes 100000 dollars; the richest people of the world come there.
We also have cooperation between universities and schools, both secondary and primary. In Poland we have the school of Good Maharaja, the Maharaja from Jamnagar who established a camp for young polish refugees in second world war and more than one thousand survived, mostly children. We consider this as a gift from India to Poland. Thanks to the charity and Good Maharaja, those kids they survived the War and many of them still live and two years ago a delegation of these survivors came to Gujarat. There will be another delegation of these survivors to Jamnagar in Gujarat soon. So our relations are very rich.
In spite of such close cultural relations, trade between India and Poland is very low, do you think there are obstacles in increasing the volume, is there something wrong?
It is not a matter of something being wrong if the trade is low; it is a matter of something which has to be done by both the sides. It’s a matter of creating opportunities and encouraging business from both sides, to meet each other more often. B-2-B contacts are very important ; we are organizing those missions every month to boost that cooperation and to push businessmen to get together and discuss opportunities. There can be significant cooperation in those services which I mentioned earlier and if we can cooperate and manufacture together there will be an increase in trade in mining, renewable energy, IT sector, food processing; we can do a lot in these sectors. This can, more or less, be done by businessmen.
Was your first business mission Vibrant Gujarat?
My first business mission was in September for Annapurna food expo in Mumbai.
Do you see a positive outcome of vibrant Gujarat?
For us it was vibrating. It was an opportunity for my Deputy Prime Minister and the big group of Polish businessmen to see how vibrant India is. This is a matter creating awareness about the opportunities and opening the eyes that both countries are different from what they read or heard.
Which are the States you would like to target for investments?
We would like to focus on six to eight States and would like to develop as many which include Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Haryana. Those states are our target.
What about collaboration in coal mines in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and MP ?
Certainly there are opportunities. There is a real chance for big development.
Will there be cooperation in the defence sector in India after some troubles with Boomer of Poland some time ago?
Bumar does not exist any longer. There is a reform now, consolidation of the defence sector in Poland. It was government and is still, but it is a totally different group. The new company will come for sure. It will be a government company. The name doesn’t matter the subject is important.
Will the collaboration in defence sector increase?
Ya, I think so. It will increase for sure.
To what extent?
Collaboration will increase, to ‘make in India’ extent. Mutual benefit is important; in our trade we would like to be more balanced.