About Us India-Czech Bilateral Relations

India-Czech Republic Bilateral Relations

Historic Linkages

1. India’s relations with former Czechoslovakia and with Czech Republic, have always been warm, friendly and have a long history. In the medieval ages, Kingdom of Bohemia (now a part of CR) traded with India in precious goods and Indian spices. During the Czech National Revival- a cultural movement which took place in the Czech lands during the 18th and 19th centuries with the purpose of reviving the Czech language, culture and national identity, prominent Czech scholars got inspired by ancient Indian culture. They found similarity between Czech and mother of all languages, Sanskrit.

Some of the important events over the last century are:

  • Opening of Czechoslovak Consulate in Bombay in October 1920 and later in Calcutta in December 1929.

  • Visit of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore to Czechoslovakia in 1921 and 1926 ( in 2004, a bust of Tagore was installed in Prague, with street named as Thakurova).

  • Establishment of Czech Bata Works in Batanagar, Calcutta in 1930s.

  • Visit of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in 1933 and 1938.

  • Visit of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru accompanied by his daughter Indira Gandhi to Prague in 1938.

2. Diplomatic relations were established with Czechoslovakia on November 18, 1947. After the dissolution of Czechoslovakia on 1 January 1993, India immediately recognized the Czech Republic.

High-level Political Exchanges in recent years:

3. (i) State visit of President Mr Ram Nath Kovind to Czech Republic in September, 2018. During the visit 8 Agreements/MoUs in the fields of Trade, Defence, S&T, Culture, Education and Visa Waiver for Diplomatic Passport holders were signed.

(ii) Visit of the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Mr C.R. Chaudhary to Prague in October 2018 for11th session of Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation .

(iii) Visit of Czech PM Mr. Andrej Babis to India for the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit (VGSS) in January 2019 ,accompanied by Czech Minister of Trade and Industry Ms. Marta Novakova. The Czech Republic was the partner country at the Vibrant Gujrat Summit.

(iv) Visit of Czech Defence Minister Mr. Lubomir Metnar to India in February 2019 for Aero-India, Bangalore

(v) Visit of Czech Foreign Minister Petricek to India in January 2020 to participate at the 6th edition of Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi.

Economic and Trade Relations

4. The bilateral economic relations gained momentum after Czech Republic gained entry into European Union in 2004. Increased bilateral engagement has resulted in revival of bilateral trade to more than US $ 1.24 billion in (Jan-Oct 2020) from just US $ 86 million in 1993. The bilateral trade has almost remained at par y-o-y in 2019 & 2020 (despite COVID-19 pandemic related slowdown)

Defence Cooperation

5. The bilateral Defence Cooperation gained new momentum with the signing of MoU on Bilateral Defence Cooperation in October 2003. Accordingly Joint Defence Committee has been setup. So far six such meetings of JDC have taken place with the last meeting in New Delhi on 3 February 2020. The Czech defence companies have been regularly supplying military equipment to Indian armed forces.

Science and Technology Cooperation

6. In 2019 under the joint collaboration in Science and Technology, 20 high ranking projects were selected out of 187 joint proposals. India and Czech Republic are working in niche technologies considering the latter’s strength as the incubator of Technologies in strategic sectors such as defence, nuclear energy, cyber security, AI, Big Data, nanotechnology, laser etc.

In June 2017, ISRO launched Czech nanosatellite -VZLUSAT-1 (size 20 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm and weight 2 kg), the first Czech technological satellite. Its mission is to verify new products and technologies on Earth's orbit. The satellite was developed by the Czech Aerospace Research and Test Centre (VZLU) in cooperation with Czech companies and universities.

Professor Ajay K. Sood, an Indian scientist has been appointed at the apex R&D Council of Czech Republic, headed by PM Andrej Babis.

The Indian system of medicine Ayurveda has also become quite popular in Czech Republic.

Multilateral Cooperation

7. Czech Republic strongly supported India’s full membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group(NSG) through its constructive role in NSG and in EU deliberations. During the visit of the President of India in September 2018 both countries agreed to commit towards strengthening global non-proliferation efforts including peaceful use of nuclear energy.

8. Czech Republic supported India in recently held elections for non-permanent membership of UNSC for 2021-22 and also supports comprehensive reform of UN and India’s credentials for permanent membership of UNSC. On the issue of Terrorism, Czech President Zeman has time and again reiterated his tough stance against terrorism and called for global cooperation in fight against terrorism. Both sides agreed towards providing mutual support for their candidature in various UN bodies/organizations and other multilateral agencies.

Educational Cooperation

9. Indology has a very old tradition in Prague, starting with establishment of a Chair in Sanskrit in the prestigious Charles University in 1850s. Indian languages like Hindi, Bengali, Tamil are currently taught in this University.

10. Czech educational institutions – particularly technical universities and medical colleges , are working with their Indian counterparts through exchange programs. Czech Republic is increasingly becoming a hub for Indian professionals, students, researchers, tourists & businessmen, with number of Indians in CR having increased to 5300 (as on 31.10.2020) including students, temporary professionals and old residents. There are about 700 (as on 31.10.2020) Indian students studying medicine, engineering, life sciences and physical sciences in various Czech universities and colleges.

In January 2020 Czech Foreign Minister, announced an expansion in quota for fast track visas for highly skilled/professionals from India. In addition, the Czech Government has agreed to strengthen the preferential regime through Project Student as a special arrangement to facilitate movement of Indian students and researchers.

Cultural / Tourism Cooperation

11. The Czech Government has actively participated at highest level including at the recently held celebrations of Bapu@150 in 2019 and in its culmination in 2020. On 2 October 2019 Czech PM Andrej Babis on the occasion of Bapu@150 event participated in the planting of 150 trees. A commemorative postal stamp by Czech Post was also released on 26 June 2019.

The Indian Cultural Centre under aegis of the Embassy established in early 2011, is functioning, to promote and propagate Indian cultural activities like screening of Indian movies, delivering lectures and organising performing art events by local talent and artistes from India. In addition, classes for Hindi language, dance and yoga are also organized.

     Yoga has become a way of life for many Czech people. They have been actively participating in the International Day of Yoga Celebrations on June 21. Yoga studios have become popular and have mushroomed throughout the country.

    Over the years Czech Republic has become quite popular amongst the Indian tourist. Pre COVID times more than 100,000 Indian tourists visited CR annually. Around 10-12 thousand Czech nationals also visit India annually. India’s e-visa scheme is presently being utilized by 85% of Czech visitors.

      Indian Community

    12. Currently around 5300 Indians- mostly IT professionals, businessmen and students are residing in Czech Republic. There are several informal associations of Indians/people of Indian origin, who organize Indian festivals in association with the Embassy.

13. Besides the Embassy of CR in Delhi, CR has four Honorary Consulates in India, one each in Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru ,Chennai .

March, 2021