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Big agenda awaits Indian minister's visit to Poland

Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma will pay a four-day official visit to Poland from June 12.

india Updated: Jun 10, 2006 11:51 IST

India's Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma will pay a four-day official visit to Poland from June 12 at the invitation of Polish Foreign Minister Anna Fotyga.

It is after four years that an Indian external affair minister is coming to Poland. Last year, then external affairs minister Natwar Singh was due to come but he had to cancel the visit after allegations of involvement in the UN oil for food scandal.

During his visit, Anand Sharma will hold extensive discussions with Anna Fotyga, who recently took over as foreign minister after the resignation of Stefan Miller. Fotyga is well disposed towards India as earlier she was a member to the European parliament where she was actively involved in Indian affairs.

On June 14, Sharma will inaugurate a cultural festival organised by the Polish Indian Cultural Committee in the city of Krakow and also meet the Indian community.

The next day he will preside over a meeting of Indian ambassadors posted in the East European region who will brief the minister on strengthening of bilateral relations, though a majority of the nations in the region have already joined the European Union. Sharma will also give his own inputs to make India's presence enhanced in the region.

In 2002, Omar Abdullah, then minister of state for external affairs, had also convened a conference in Warsaw of the Indian ambassadors based in East European capitals. "Poland being the largest East European country, gets prominence in holding such conferences," said Anil Wadhwa, Indian Ambassador to Poland.

Anand Sharma is coming to Poland at a time when Indo-Polish relations are already in the upswing. Last month, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath made a state visit and signed an agreement to revitalise the Indo-Polish joint commission. In December 2004, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee had come to Poland to strengthen defence cooperation between the two countries.

"The traffic is not restricted to one side. Polish Defence Minister Radislaw Sokorski is going to visit India next month, and in one of the winter months the Polish prime minister will make a state visit to India," Wadhwa said.

"Now there is willingness to promote relations with India as it has become an attractive destination for foreign investors. Poland's entry to the European Union does not restrict its desire to expand relations with India. Unlike the previous government, the present government sees to the East, particularly India, as a long-standing friend in Asia," added Wadhwa.

The trade between the two countries has already crossed more than $550 million and many Indian companies, such as Reliance, Videocon, Ranbaxy, Escorts and Mahindras have already invested more than $700 millions. Indian origin steel baron Laxmi Mittal has invested more than $2 billion and captured 70 percent of the Polish steel market.