April 15, 2014

Gas war will hurt Russia too: Czech Ambassador

Filed under: Uncategorized — Journalised @ 4:26 AM

Expressing hope that Russia will act maturely on the energy supply issue to Europe, Czech Ambassador to India Miloslav Stasek said the use of energy sanctions as a tool to settle political scores with Europe will hurt Russia too.

“If you are a big supplier, you need buyers. I don’t think it will be beneficial for them, because they need the income coming from the sale of gas,” Mr Stasek said commenting on Russian attempts to stall gas supplies to Central European countries.

He said the Czech Republic currently gets 78 per cent of its total gas supplies from Russia through a pipeline that runs through Ukraine and any attempts to use it to settle scores with Europe for its non-recognition of Crimea as part of Russia will deprive it of the funds from selling its vast energy resources.

He highlighted that Russia is also a big investor in its energy and power sector in the Czech Republic and it is not in Russia interest to hurt gas supplies to his country.

Calling the ‘occupation’ of Crimea by Russia as a development “that keeps us busy,” the Ambassador said his country’s position is the same as the EU’s. “We are on the same lines as the EU. We are calling for the territorial unity of Ukraine,” Mr Stasek said.

He said the way Russia went about occupying Crimea by holding a referendum, which was called into question both by the EU and the United States, brings home memories of the German occupation of Czech province of Bohemia when Germany used the same analogy, of a majority of German speakers in the province, to justify its occupation in 1938.

There has been a major energy policy shift in many European countries since Russia’s ‘occupation’ of Crimea, as there are fears among many of these states that Russia will use its energy resources to starve its industry to gain an upper hand in the region.

However, Mr Stasek said his country had started the process of diversifying its energy needs much before the Crimean crisis began. Not only that the country is also trying to diversify its energy technology, Mr Stasek highlighted that together with France, Czech Republic is now the biggest exporter of energy to Europe and wants to further increase its nuclear energy capacity to become self-sustainable in the long run.


Originally published here


India as important as China economically: Czech Amb

Filed under: Uncategorized — Journalised @ 4:16 AM
New Delhi, Apr 14 (UNI) Even after the slowdown of its economy, India remains as important a destination for Czech business as China, Czech Republic’s Ambassador to India Miloslav Stasek has stressed, adding that his country has ‘prioritised’ India much before the crisis.
   Speaking to UNI after the recently concluded India-Central Europe Business Forum (ICEBF) in which Czech Republic was the focus country, the Ambassador said Czech companies are increasingly looking towards India to spread their wings.
   The recession in many Western economies as well in Czech Republic itself has encouraged its companies to look for opportunities out of Europe as well as invest in R&D. “If we are not competitive, we will be lost,” he added.
   “Asia is huge and lots of opportunities exist and companies from other regions are also here, so the Indian market is very competitive,” the Ambassador said.
   He said the recently-concluded ICEBF, organised by FICCI in partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs, provided a unique platform to Central European countries to interact with Indian business leaders. He expressed his country’s readiness to host a similar event and make it a perennial affair as it provides a platform for future cooperation with India.
   India-Czech bilateral trade currently stands close to two billion dollars per year. The Ambassador said that since there is lot of liquidity in Indian companies, they are looking at the Czech Republic as an investment destination. The Indian government currently provides subsidy to the tune of two per cent to Indian companies who invest in the Czech Republic, which means that anything that Indian companies invest in the Czech Republic, they are reimbursed two per cent of that amount by the Indian government.
   Apart from exporting traditional goods such as spices, textiles and rubber, several Indian pharma and IT companies have set up shop in the Central European country, that split from Slovakia in 1993, as it provides them a gateway to Europe.
   Mr Stasek stressed that there are ample areas in which Indian companies can invest in his country including areas such as automotives, heavy industry, engineering technology as well as glass.
   “Automotive industry is the engine of our growth and we export as well as import automotive part,” he said, adding that a lot of Indian companies are already exporting automotive parts to the Czech Republic.
   Terming China a relatively “difficult market” compared to India due to “language barriers”, he said the former Czechoslovakia is already an established name here because of its involvement in India’s economy in the 1970’s. “Even the auto wallahs know about Czechoslovakia,” the envoy remarked in a lighter vein.
   Mr Stasek expressed hope that any government that comes to power after the general election will prioritise the economy. “For any government in India the priority would be to provide employment and good environment to attract investment,” he said.
   When his attention was drawn to the absence of direct air links between the two countries at a time when the bilateral relations are flourishing, he said his government is exploring ways to get the national carrier Air-India to provide a direct service to Prague.  “We are in negotiations to bring Air-India to the CzechRepublic. We already have a civil aviation agreement with India. We will be pleased to have an Indian carrier cater on the India-Czech Republic route,” Mr Stasek said.
   He expressed hope that the void will be soon be filled.
Originally published here

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