The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, addressed the Croatian-Indian Economic Forum in Zagreb, Croatia today (March 27, 2019).Speaking on the occasion, the President said that India is known as the land of culture and spiritualism in Croatia. That may well be the case, but Croatian people need to experience the economic energy, dynamism and vigour of the new India in the making. India is changing and changing fast. The international business community has given a vote of confidence to these changes with new investments. During our last financial year, we received US$ 62 billion in foreign direct investment. Indian industry is also reaching out across the world, be it through trade, direct investments or joint collaborations. But numbers often don’t capture the enormous changes taking place or the dynamism that accompanies them. He invited Croatia to partner with India and take advantage of the opportunities that India presents.The President said that in today’s globalized world, we cannot think only in terms of export and import, we must also look at integrating our value and supply chains to derive maximum benefit. He was happy to note that an India-Croatia Business Council has been set in place. He said that we need to energize it and seek its assistance in identifying new areas of cooperation. As Governments, we can be the facilitators for business but business communities are the true spearheads of greater economic engagement. He invited Indian and Croatian businesses to partner with each other for trade, technology and investment collaboration.Later today, the President addressed the students of the University of Zagreb. The theme of the address was “India – Croatia relations- the way forward”.
Addressing the gathering, the President said that the University of Zagreb is renowned as a centre for learning and scholarship. We in India have a special connect with this university, and particularly its Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, for hosting the Department of Indology.The President said that Croatia’s progress to a stable and prosperous democracy is indeed inspirational. Its journey as a member of the European Union, a key global partner for India, heralds a new beginning for Croatia. All of us would do well with a stronger Europe, one that should continue to anchor a multi-polar world uplifting multilateralism, strengthening global governance and ensuring adherence to international laws and regulations.The President said that India now have the third largest scientific and technical manpower pool in the world, with 162 universities awarding over 4000 doctorates annually. India’s skill in information technology is well known. India has a thriving research and development services market, which is expected to reach US$ 38 billion by 2020. A third of the top 1000 companies in terms of global research and development spending, now have centres in India. The knowledge economy wrapped around the digital highway and powered by artificial intelligence has immense scope to bring our research-labs together, to bring our entrepreneurs together, and to bring new solutions for health and well-being for our people.The President said that there is much India-Croatia can do together. He said that the two countries have to now build a new-age partnership, a partnership anchored in economic synergies, in geo-political realities, in technology and innovation, in sustainability and the 4th Industrial Revolution, and in the strengths and priorities of the two countries.The President said that his visit was the first by a President of India to Croatia. His visit intends to reaffirm India’s hand of friendship and to invite Croatians, particularly its youth, to venture out to India.The President will leave for Bolivia – the second leg of his visit tomorrow morning (March 28, 2019).