Embassy of India, Warsaw
India and Poland share a long-standing friendly relationship, marked by high level political contacts, vibrant economic engagement and a strong defence partnership. Diplomatic relations were established in 1954, leading to the opening of the Indian Embassy in Warsaw in 1957. The two countries shared common ideological perceptions, based on their opposition to colonialism, imperialism and racism. During the Communist era, bilateral relations were close and cordial, with regular high level visits (five VVIP visits from India – beginning with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1955 - and four from Poland), coupled with planned trade and economic interactions by state trading organizations, underpinned by the rupee clearing arrangements. In this period, significant exchanges continued in defence, science and technology, and culture.
The relationship continued to remain close after Poland chose the democratic path in 1989. India and Poland transitioned to hard currency trading arrangements that were sustained by rising levels of trade as both economies grew in size and heft. A cordial political relationship has emerged in the current century, particularly after Poland joined the EU in 2004, and became one of India’s key economic partners in Central Europe.
Over the decades, India and Poland have had robust exchanges at the level of Heads of State and Government. Earlier major visits from India to Poland include: Presidents V.V. Giri (1970), Zail Singh (1986), S.D. Sharma (1996) and Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru (1955), Indira Gandhi (1967) and Morarji Desai (1979). From the Polish side, visits include: Presidents Alexander Kwasniewski (1998), Lech Walesa (1994 and 1998), Prime Ministers Cyrankieweicz (1957) and Jaroszewicz (1973), Polish United Workers’ Party First Secretary Gierek (1977) and Gen. Jaruszelski (1985). After democracy came to Poland in 1990, high-level contacts continued with the visits of Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski (1998) and Polish PM Leszek Miller (2003). The President of India, Smt. Pratibha Patil, visited Poland in April 2009, and Polish PM Donald Tusk paid a state visit to India in September 2010.
A number of bilateral agreements are operational, including: Agreement on Cultural Cooperation (1957); Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation (1981); Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology (1993); Protocol on Foreign Office Consultations (1996); Agreement on Promotion and Protection of Investments (1996); Agreement on Cooperation in Combating Organized Crime and International Terrorism (2003); MOU on Defence Cooperation (2003); Extradition Treaty (2003); Agreement on Economic Cooperation (2006); Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Health Care and Medical Science (2009); and Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Tourism (2009). A Cultural Exchange Programme is under discussion for renewal for the period 2016-18.
Parliamentary Exchanges: Contacts between the Indian and Polish Parliaments were established after the overthrow of the Communist system in 1989. Polish parliamentary delegations have visited India in December 1992, March 2000, January 2003 and December 2004. Speaker of Lok Sabha, Shri Manohar Joshi, led a multi-party Parliamentary delegation to Poland in May 2002. Subsequently, a Parliamentary Friendship Group with Poland was constituted in both the Parliaments. A 19-member Polish-Indian Parliamentary Group, comprising members from both Sejm (Lower House) and the Senate, has been formed after convening of the new Parliament elected in October 2015.
Foreign Office Consultations: Both sides have been regularly engaging in Foreign Office Consultations since 1996. Most recently, Secretary (West), Ms Sujatha Mehta led the Foreign Office consultations held on 24 August, 2016 in Warsaw with the Polish side being led by Deputy Foreign Minister Katarzyna Kacperczyk. The talks focused on high-level bilateral visits, economic cooperation, co-ordination in international fora, the migration crisis, Brexit, the crisis in Ukraine and the situation in South Asia.
Poland is India’s largest trade partner and export destination in the east European region, with bilateral trade growing almost seven-fold over the last ten years. In 2014, bilateral trade was US$2.4 billion. During 2015, bilateral trade amounted to US$2.2 billion. India’s major exports have been tobacco, processed minerals, chemicals, rubber, plastic, machinery, drugs, transport equipment, and ready-made cotton garments. Major imports from Poland have been iron and steel, metalifers ores and metal scraps, transport equipment and machinery (except electrical and coal).
The bilateral trade figures for the last few years are below:
The trade figures are being reconciled in consultation with both the Central Statistical Office of Poland (GUS) and DGC&IS, Kolkata.
Statistics suggest that bilateral trade has increased by almost 126% in the first six months of the year 2016.
Indian investments in Poland are valued at over US$3 billion and include ArcelorMittal, Videocon, Escorts, Strides Arcolab, Reliance Industries, Ranbaxy, Essel Propack, KPIT Cummins, Zensar Technologies Ltd, Tata Consultancy Services, HCL Technologies Ltd, HCL Technologies, Infosys and Wipro, Jindal Stainless, Berger Paints India, UFLEX and Glenmark Pharmaceuticals.
Polish companies that operate in India include Torunskie Zaklady Materialow Opatrunkowych (TZMO) in Dindigul (manufacturing hygiene and sanitary products), Can-Pack Poland in Aurangabad (manufacturing metal packaging), Geofizyka Torun. Famur Group, and Ekolog (waste to energy). Total Polish investment is about US$600 million.
Indo-Polish Chambers of Commerce: Three dedicated Chambers of Commerce, based in Poland, are active in promoting bilateral trade and investment as well as India’s flagship development initiatives. These are: (i) Indo-Polish Chamber of Commerce & Industry (IPCCI) based in Warsaw (President: Mr J.J. Singh); (ii) Poland-India Business Council (PIBC) based in Warsaw (President: Mr Rao Madukuri); & (iii) Polish-Indian Chamber of Commerce (PIIG) based in Poznan, (President: Mr Ryzard Schneider). In addition, the state-run Polish Information & Foreign Investment Agency (PAlilZ) and Invest India are finalizing a cooperation agreement to promote bilateral trade and investment.
Engineering Sector Collaboration: Polish public sector companies have, in the past, played a substantial role in development of mining and power sectors in India. They have collaborated in reorganization of some Indian collieries, besides supplying mining machinery, equipment, technical know-how and training.
India’s IT & ICT Sector in Poland: Indian companies have sensed opportunities in Poland for over a decade and have made it a destination of choice for near-shoring operations targeted at Europe. At least eleven Indian IT companies, employing more than 5000 professionals, are currently active in Poland.
State-level relations: State-to-State relations exist between Punjab and Lubelskie region and also between erstwhile Andhra Pradesh and Malopolska region. On 12th October, 2016, a cooperation agreement was signed between Karnataka and Wielkopolska region. Five more State to State cooperation agreements are also under discussion between the respective State Governments of both countries
Business delegations: A large number of business delegations have been exchanged in recent times, strengthening the economic partnership. Key visits are listed in the following paragraphs:
Karnataka Ministerial delegation: A 4 member high level delegation from Karnataka, led by Minister for Large and Medium Industries and Infrastructure Development, Shri R.V. Deshpande visited Poland from 9 to 13 October, 2016. The delegation participated in the POL-ECO-SYSTEM Trade Fair on environmentally sustainable technologies in Poznan, entered into a cooperation agreement with the industrially advanced region of Wielkopolska on various areas including Automotive, Infrastructure, logistics, Information Technology, R&D, Agriculture & Food processing, Environment protection and Water resources management, visited the Poznan University of Life Sciences and the Younick Technology Park and participated in a business seminar in Warsaw titled: “Investment Opportunities in Karnataka, which invited participation from around 40 Polish and Indian companies besides Government officials from the Polish Ministry of Economic Development.
President, SME Chamber of India: Shri Chandrakant Salunkhe, President of SME Chamber of India based in Mumbai visited Poland from 12 to 14 October and engaged in meetings with the Deputy Marshal of Mazovia region and also participated in various B2B meetings with Polish companies
West Bengal delegation: An Indian business delegation led by Shri Mohan Goenka, Honorary Consular of the Republic of Poland in Kolkata, visited Poland for a series of meetings with high level Government dignitaries including Deputy Ministers of Economic Development and Foreign Affairs, Chambers of Commerce & Industry and with Individual companies of commercial interest to India. During their meetings in Upper Silesia, the delegation expressed interest in possible cooperation between West Bengal and Upper Silesia region of Poland, in various areas including food processing, coal & mining, tea, IT, textile, fisheries and waste processing. The Indian delegation put together an investment plan for Poland.
Gujarat delegation: A 10-member delegation led by Ms S. Aparna, Principal Secretary to the Gujarat CM, visited (7-11 September) Warsaw, Rzeshow, Krakow & Gdansk to promote the Vibrant Gujarat Summit. The delegation held extensive discussions with the Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Ministry of Culture (heritage development), Mayor of Warsaw (business and educational linkages), Marshal (CM) of Transcarpathia (pharmaceuticals, auto, IT), Vice Marshal of Pomerania (shipbuilding & education), National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KIG), Indo-Polish Chamber of Commerce & Industry (IPCCI), AGH University of Science & Technology (mining technology) & Jagiellonian University. Poland is a Partner Country at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit (10-13 January 2017).
Secretary (Agriculture): At the invitation of the Polish Dy.Minister for Agriculture, Secretary (Agriculture), Shri S.K. Pattanayak, visited (29-31 August) Poland alongwith Dr. V.K. Srivastava, Jt.Director. Both sides discussed a range of issues, including enhancing trade in agri-food products, signing an MOU in the field of agriculture, and stepping up scientific and technological cooperation in agricultural areas. Poland requested access for Polish apples to the Indian market and made proposals on “cold treatment” of apples prior to their shipment to India.
Coal & Mining: A 4-member coal delegation, led by Shri Anil Swarup, Secretary (Coal), and comprising Chairman of Coal India Ltd. (CIL), Shri Sutirtha Bhattacharya, and other senior officials of the Ministry of Coal, visited Warsaw, Bełchatów, Kraków & Katowice, in June 2016. The delegation held discussions with the Polish delegation led by the Deputy Minister of Economy Development, Radosław Domagalski-Łabedzki, and held on-site visits to mines & technology universities in Poland.
Defence partnership - Defexpo (March 2016): A Polish delegation led by PGZ President, Arkadiusz Siwko, visited India for Defexpo in Goa in March 2016. The delegation had constructive interactions with Defence Ministry officials as also with public and private sector defence companies in India.
Agriculture exchange - AAHAR (March 2016): A Polish delegation of five companies led by Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Ms Ewa Lech, attended AAHAR 2016 in New Delhi in March 2016.
Asian Mining Congress (February 2016): Deputy Minister for Economic Development, Radosław Domagalski-Łabędzki, visited Kolkata with a group of Polish companies to attend the 6th Asian Mining Congress in February 2016. He participated in seminars and had several interactions with Indian companies in the coal and mining sector.
Make in India Week (February 2016): First Deputy Prime Minister of Poland, Prof. Piotr Glinski, led a strong delegation of more than 50 officials and businessmen for the Make in India Week in February 2016. Prof. Glinski called on Prime Minister Modi and discussed a roadmap of bilateral economic cooperation. He also extended an invitation from the Polish Prime Minister to the PM to visit Poland. He held meetings with the Indian Ministers of Finance, Commerce, Coal and Steel. To promote relations with Indian states, DPM Glinski also met with the Chief Ministers of Maharashtra and Haryana. The Polish delegation interacted with captains of Indian industry and also held meetings with the Minister for Food Processing of India. The Polish Deputy PM addressed a seminar on future vistas for Indo-Polish cooperation and also spoke at a sectoral seminar on power and coal.
India Central-Europe Business Forum (October 2015): Polish Deputy Foreign Minister, Leszek Soczewica, accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising of senior officials and businessmen, visited India to participate in the 2nd India Central - Europe Business Forum (ICEBF) in Bengaluru in October 2015.
Poland a ‘Partner country’ for Progressive Punjab (July & October 2015): Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab, Shri Sukhbir Singh Badal, led a strong 9-member official and business contingent to Poland in July 2015 and held multiple and substantive interactions with Polish Ministers, regional leaders and senior government officials in Warsaw and Lublin. As announced by the Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy, Mr Janusz Piechocinski, at a joint media interaction during the visit, Poland became a partner country for the ‘Progressive Punjab Investors Summit’ held in October 2015 in Mohali, Punjab. Subsequently, a delegation led by State Secretary, Jerzy Pietrewicz, participated as a Partner Country in the Punjab Summit, where a bilateral agreement was signed between the State of Punjab and the Lubelskie region.
First Poland-India IT forum in Krakow (July 2015): The flagship Digital India programme, unveiled in India on July 1, 2015 was showcased at the first Poland India IT Forum in Krakow in July 2015. The IT Forum was held at the premises of AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow and was jointly organized by Małopolska Region, Poland India Business Council, the AGH University. It was supported by the Ministry of Administration and Digitization of Poland and the Embassy of India, Warsaw. The aim of the forum was to highlight the growing engagement in the IT sectors between Indian and Poland and find synergies for future cooperation. Dr N.R. Narayana Murthy, co-founder of Infosys, was honoured with a Doctor Honoris Causa by the AGH University during the event.
Joint Commission in Warsaw (June 2015): The fourth Session of the India-Poland Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation (JCEC) was held in Warsaw, in June 2015. The Commission was co-chaired by Shri Amitabh Kant, Secretary, and Mr. Jerzy Pietreiwicz, Secretary of State, Ministry of Economy of Poland. The highlight of the protocol was the setting of an ambitious trade target of US$5 billion by 2018 (2014 level: US$2.4 billion). The Commission detailed a plan for stepping up investments and identified a series of actions to raise bilateral economic cooperation. Three newly-created bilateral Joint Working Groups (JWGs) on Coal, IT and Food Processing also met and identified specific areas of cooperation in their respective domains.
Make in India and Go India: In March 2015, the ‘Make in India’ campaign was formally launched in Warsaw. Speaking to a distinguished gathering at a ‘Make in India’ evening, the Chief Guest, Polish Deputy Minister of Economy, Mr. Jerzy Pietrewicz, applauded India’s outreach programmes in Poland and underlined the Polish government’s complete support. Mr. Pietrewicz said that he was personally enthused by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for transforming India into an economic behemoth. In response to India’s initiative, Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister Piechocinski, announced a ‘Go India’ programme in April 2015 that will facilitate and incentivize Polish companies to engage with India.
Vibrant Gujarat Summit (January 2015): Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy of Poland, Mr. Janusz Piechocinski, led a large business delegation to India in January 2015 to attend the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in Gandhinagar and met with the PM and the Chief Minister of Gujarat. A number of areas of cooperation were discussed in the meeting with PM, including coal and mining, food processing, automobiles, defence and IT. Ms. Katarzyna Kacperczyk, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, accompanied the Deputy Prime Minister.
India Show at Poznan (June 2014): India showcased its engineering prowess in the ‘India Show’ at Poznan, Poland in June 2014, in which more than 100 Indian engineering companies, chiefly from the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises sector, participated. The event coincided with ITM Poznan, Poland’s biggest technology and machine tools fair and was coordinated by EEPC and Ministry of Commerce and Department of Heavy Industries. India was granted ‘Partner Country’ status by the Government of Poland.
Poland has a strong and long-standing affinity for Indian culture, bolstered by a frequent exchange of cultural troupes and delegations.
Indology: There is a strong tradition of Indology studies in Poland, with Polish scholars having translated Sanskrit into Polish as early as in the 19th Century. Sanskrit was being studied at the 600 year old Jagiellonian University in Krakow (the oldest in Poland) in 1860-61 with a Chair of Sanskrit being established in 1893. The Indology Department of the Oriental Institute at the University of Warsaw (established in 1932) is the biggest centre for Indian studies in Central Europe. ICCR sponsored the first Central & Eastern European regional conference of Indology in Warsaw University in September 2005 in which 19 scholars from 11 countries participated. A Hindi Chair is in place at the University of Warsaw. A Tamil chair is being re-established at the University of Warsaw, which will be shared with the Jagiellonian University. Hindi Teachers have also been deployed, with ICCR support, at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow and Technical University of Gdansk. A chair of Modern Studies is sought to be established at the Jagiellonian University.
Students exchange: Students from Poland are given scholarships under ICCR schemes to study in India every year. Kendriya Hindi Sansthan, Agra provides four scholarships to Polish students to study Hindi. Nearly 100 Polish officials have availed of the ITEC capacity building training since 2007. Indian students have been studying in Poland on private basis in areas such as medicine, engineering, town planning, ship-building, and coal-mining. The number of such students has climbed to over 2500.
Academic Faculty Exchange: University of Warsaw has institutional arrangements with several Indian universities, including JNU, University of Calcutta, Manipal University, Mangalore University, under which Indian professors visit the university and conduct classes. They also participate in seminars/conferences and share their perspectives at public lectures focused on India’s development priorities/agenda among others.
Cultural exchanges: Polish journalists, academics and other opinion-makers have visited India under ICCR’s ‘Distinguished Visitors Programme’. Over the years, several cultural troupes have visited Poland and staged performances in many Polish cities. From the Polish side, several musical, art and film shows have been organized in India. An active Polish Cultural Institute functions within the Polish Mission in New Delhi, with its premises in Jor Bagh.
Incredible India Road Shows in Poland: Ministry of Tourism, with the support of the Embassy, organized a Road show in Warsaw in October, 2016 and earlier at Krakow and Warsaw in July 2015, with participation of around 18 tour and travel operators from India and several local tour operators.
Yoga: The 2nd International Day of Yoga (IDY) Festival was celebrated in Poland for three days from 19-21 June, 2016. The festival was organized in over 25 cities in Poland with an overwhelming participation of over 20,000 people. The first International Day of Yoga was organized in 21 cities in Poland on June 21, 2015. An estimated 11000 people participated in public events. The flagship event was held in the capital city Warsaw. Several Polish celebrities and ‘yoga ambassadors’ have joined the Yoga movement. Currently around 1000 centres and 6,000 teachers are propagating Yoga in Poland. There are over 3,00,000 yoga practitioners in the country.
Ayurveda: The Opole University, in collaboration with Ayurveda and Yoga Centre of Sulislaw, offers a degree course in Ayurveda & Yoga. Ayush scholarships are offered annually to the Polish students to study Ayurveda & Yoga in India.
Films: Poland is becoming a major destination for shooting of Indian films. We expect this will boost tourism and cultural interaction between the two countries. Bangistan, Aazaan, Fanaa, Yah Jo Hai Mohabbat, Kick, Shaandaar, 24 (Tamil) are some of the Indian films shot in Poland. Several Bollywood films including ‘Fan’ and “Ae Dil Hae Mushkil” have been released in Poland, simultaneously with their global release.
Gandhiji’s bust: A bust of Mahatma Gandhi has been placed in the library of University of Warsaw. It was unveiled on May 23, 2002 by the Lok Sabha Speaker, Shri Manohar Joshi.
Good Maharaja Connection: A monument commemorating Jam Saheb Digvijaysinhji Ranjitsinhji Jadeja of Nawanagar, was unveiled on 31 October, 2014 at the Square of the Good Maharaja, Ochota District, Warsaw, Poland. A Polish school is also named after the Maharaja. On 11 March, 2016, the Polish Parliament unanimously passed a resolution honouring the kindness and generosity of the Maharaja on his 50th death anniversary. The Maharaja had accepted more than 1000 Polish refugees, mainly children, as they escaped the depredations of the Second World War in the 1940’s.
Streets commemorating Indian leaders: Three streets in Warsaw are named after Indian leaders - Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore. Krakow and Lodz also have streets named after Mahatma Gandhi. Several bus stations are also named after these leaders.
60 years of diplomatic contact: 2014 assumed special significance in our bilateral relationship as its being the 60th year of establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Poland. To commemorate this historic event, a series of outreach activities including seminars, film weeks, performing arts, business forums, cuisine festivals, exhibitions, etc were held in both the countries.
New Embassy premises: The Embassy has shifted to its new Chancery complex, measuring 9,657 square meters, in August 2015. The Chancery is located at the heart of Warsaw. It faces the world famous Lazienki Park on two sides.
Visas: The Embassy of India in Warsaw issues around 20,000 visas annually, for Poland and Lithuania. Poland has been included in e-TV scheme of Government of India with effect from August 15, 2015. Under the scheme, over 8700 Polish nationals have visited India till the end of September 2016, indicating rising number of Poles availing of e-TV visa facility.
Estimated at more than 5,000, the Indian community in Poland consists of traders (textiles, garments, electronics) who came after the collapse of communism, and professionals with multinational or Indian companies and software/IT experts. There are about 60 Indian restaurants in Poland, more than 30 in Warsaw alone. The number of Indian students in Poland has grown to over 2500. Several community organizations have come up and are supported by the Embassy.
Friendship Societies: There are seven major Indo-Polish Friendship Societies promoting Indian culture and people-to-people contacts locally: (i) Indo-Polish Cultural Committee (IPCC); (ii) Indian Association of Poland (IAP); (iii) Mantra Culture & Community Centre (MCCC); (iv) Friends of India in Wroclaw (FIW); (v) Friends of India in Poland, Warsaw; (vi) India International Foundation, Warsaw; and, (vii) Indian Culture & Sport Centre, Warsaw.
For more information and latest updates please visit:
Embassy of India, Warsaw website: http://www.indembwarsaw.in/
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Embassy of India, Warsaw, Twitter page: twitter.com/@IndiaPoland
November 2, 2016