On Board Air India One/Yerevan: Amid India’s intensified drive to secure membership of the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group, Vice-President Hamid Ansari will be in Warsaw this week where he is expected to seek a fresh reaffirmation of Poland’s support for New Delhi’s NSG bid and discuss a roadmap for expanding economic ties with Central Europe’s largest economy.
Poland has been supportive of India’s NSG membership, Mr Ansari told journalists travelling with his delegation on board his special aircraft. The vice-president began his five-day trip to Armenia and Poland on April 24. In EU, most countries, who are members of the elite nuclear cartel, support India’s NSG membership except for sceptics like Austria and Ireland.
As the NSG operates by consensus, getting support of each of 46 countries of the NSG is critical for India’s quest to get inside the NSG which controls global flow of nuclear material and equipment. China remains the most formidable opposition in India’s drive for global nuclear rapprochement through the NSG membership. China is pushing for criteria-based approach for non-NPT signatories which are aspiring to join the NSG, which includes India and Pakistan. This move by Beijing is seen in New Delhi as a dilatory tactic which is meant to stall India’s legitimate NSG aspiration.
Mr Ansari touched down in Yerevan, Armenian capital, on a two-day visit on April 24. Alluding to centuries-old cultural connections between India and Armenia, Mr Ansari admitted that the economic ties have remained much below potential. The small population and market size of Armenia limits the scope of developing economic relations.
In the coming days, one can expect an intensification of trade between the two countries. Development partnership remains a strong pillar of India-Armenia ties. India has assisted Armenia in setting up a Center of Excellence with the Param Super Computer and a tele-medicine project. India’s Kalptaru Power Transmission Ltd. is currently executing a transmission tower project in Armenia
The NSG will be an important issue in the talks between India and Poland later this week, but the overarching focus of the vice-president’s visit will be on scaling up economic relations with Poland, the EU’s sixth largest economy and an influential regional player. The vice-president struck an upbeat note about the Poland opportunity, and underlined that Poland is a strong trading partner for India in Central Europe. Many Indian companies have a presence there and have made substantive investments, he said.
The vice-president identified clean coal technology and agriculture as promising areas of bilateral cooperation between India and Poland. The vice-president is expected to pitch for greater Polish investment at a joint business conclave in Warsaw which will be attended by business leaders of the two countries. One can expect concrete outcomes in advancing cooperation in areas such as agriculture, food processing, mining and mineral exploration and green and renewable energy. Poland has offered to set up a coking plant in India which will produce 2.7 million tonnes of coking coal per annum.
- Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.