‘I'd like see Poland-India ties grow in economic terms'
In an Interview, Tomasz Lukaszuk, Ambassador of Poland to India, tells FICCI Business Digest that he sees Poland's resilience and India's economic growth developing into a strong partnership in terms of sustainable development and sustainable business relations. There is a need to facilitate business, to develop a dynamic and active relationship and to harness the full potential of Poland and India ties.
BD. Ties between India and Poland are characterized by strong mutual goodwill and expanding dynamics. At the same time, Polish economy has been one of the most resilient and India is a top emerging economy. What in your view has been the impact of these developments in cementing our ties and economic engagement?
Amb. Yes, India and Poland have traditionally enjoyed close and friendly ties. Last year we celebrated 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Poland with the theme “Community of Values”. This enshrines approach to the society, philosophy of state, concept of making business and the concept of economic diplomacy. What we have as our motto is to serve Poland, build Europe and to understand the world. That means in our history we have never tried to preach and teach anybody. We would like to understand the world, we would like to share our knowledge with the world but we are also hoping the world will share knowledge with us. So this is the paradigm of our relations with India.
India is an even more resilient economy than us and I wish we had such a dynamic growth. You already have the quickest economic growth in the world. The way we see our resilience and India's economic growth developing into a strong partnership is in terms of sustainable development and
sustainable business relations. This is a matter of connecting with each other directly, expanding business ties and expanding communication links. I mean links by plane, logistics, by sea. We are also part of the project “New Silk Route”, which India is also a part of. If we facilitate our business with all those instruments, I think we could have a very good relationship, more active and dynamic than before because the potential is big.
BD. In March 2015, the Polish Deputy Minister of Economy, Jerzy Pietrewicz had said he was personally enthused by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision for transforming India into an economic behemoth. In the light of the reforms sweeping India's economy, what are the key emerging areas of economic cooperation?
Amb. We are expanding beyond the traditional ties of heavy industry, mining and energy. We are now focusing on Information Technology cooperation. Recently we had the first Poland-India IT forum in Krakow, Poland. This is a very, very new area of extensive cooperation. Another is food processing. This is something which we would like to take up and cooperate very closely with India. During the last year we had several visits of officials from Poland and even businessmen and the Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab visited Poland recently. The major subject was food processing cooperation.
In this context, joint ventures, transfer of technology are very dynamic areas of cooperation because India is one of the biggest producers of food in the world but according to your statistics you are processing only five per cent of what you are producing. If you process 50 per cent you can flood all the countries in the world with your products. We would like to cooperate with you, we would like to share our knowledge, we would like to show you how we produce. We are eager to export our processed foods to India – food which cannot be available here but what we can produce in our climate in Poland. So IT and food processing are two potential sectors and others are traditional areas where it is a matter of stepping up cooperation and increasing the business.
BD. The forthcoming visit of Poland's Deputy Foreign Minister Katarzyna Kacperczyk for the 2nd ICEBF being organised by FICCI in partnership with MEA, Government of India, in Bengaluru in October is a significant development. Given that this initiative is aimed at developing an institutionalised platform to promote trade and investment ties between India and Central Europe and Poland is the partner country, what are the big expectations from this forum?
Amb. For us, the forthcoming 2nd India Central Europe Business Forum is very important. We have such a formula of cooperation with China and we are just following the same steps. For us in Central Europe, support is important from the Indian side in our endeavour to have wider and more efficient cooperation, not only with the Centre but also the states in India. So placing this forum in Bangalore in the south was a very smart idea in the context of building relations with Delhi and surrounding states as well as those states placed in the far south of India. Actually those states are very active, they have very dynamic economies like Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. We will be keen to explore those opportunities. A majority of countries in Central Europe are small and medium sized. With the small and medium companies from these economies, you need to give a helping hand like support by government, international organisations or by organisations like ICEBF.
BD. Poland's Deputy Prime Minister has announced a 'Go India' programme. Could you elaborate on this programme and if it aims to enhance Polish investments in India?
Amb. This is the programme of the Government of Poland which is meant to use the opportunity being offered by “Make in India” initiative of the Indian Government. We invested in the last seven years $240 million in India and you reciprocate also in a very nice way in terms of Indian investment in Poland. The “Go India” programme is aimed at facilitating all the Polish companies interested in having more businesses with Indian companies within the sectors which constitute the theme of ICEBF. That means IT, food processing, smart cities, sustainable development, renewable sources of energy. Those sectors are in focus in the “Go India”. Importantly, it is not just a matter of Polish export to India but has a wider mandate of transferring technology from Poland and establishing joint ventures and manufacturing in India as we did before but on a smaller scale.
BD. Bilateral trade in 2014-15 at USD 1.68 billion has grown by more than 4 per cent from previous year but do you agree that there is scope to enhance our trade and commercial exchanges?
Amb. We have $2 billion bilateral trade with India only. With China we have $20 billion. This is the space and this is the potential which actually both our countries have to explore. We have already a lot of potential in food processing, agriculture. We have a lot of spices and tea from India. What we would like to have more from India are mangoes. What we can offer from our side is
Tomasz Lukaszuk, Ambassador of Poland to India