President Patil goes to Spain, Poland MondayApril 17th, 2009 - 9:23 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) India is set to scale up counter-terror cooperation and intensify economic ties with Spain and Poland when President Pratibha Patil goes to these European countries on an eight-day visit Monday.
This will be the first state visit by an Indian president to Spain and the fourth visit by an Indian head of state to Poland.
Patil will begin her overseas trip with a visit to Madrid Monday. After three days in Spain, she goes to Poland Friday.
The president will be accompanied by a high-profile delegation that includes Minister of State for Industrial Policy and Promotion Ashwani Kumar, three members of parliament, top corporate honchos and senior officials of the external affairs ministry.
“We expect to sign two-three agreements each with both countries. These are agreements that would help further diversify the already close relations that exist between Spain and Poland,” Nalin Surie, secretary (West) in the external affairs ministry, told reporters.
The focus of the visit is on expanding economic ties and giving a strategic cast to the relationship.
With reports of Al Qaeda setting up cells in Spain, terrorism will be high on the agenda when Patil meets the King and Queen of Spain Tuesday.
“We are interested in working with Spain in fighting terrorism,” Surie said. Issues relating to civilian nuclear cooperation with Spain may also be discussed as Madrid is known for its expertise in construction of nuclear power plans, official sources said.
In both countries, Patil will address business delegations and make a pitch for scaling up trading up trade and investment between the two sides.
She will also address members of the Indian community in these countries. Spain, Europe’s eighth largest economy, is home to around 30,000 Indians. Around 1,000 Indians live in Poland, which also has thriving centres of Indology in cities such as Warsaw and Cracow.