November 2021 \ Cover Story \ COVER DIPLOMATIC INTERVIEW
“Very strong and fruitful relationship in diplomacy and trade”

H.E. Mr Milan Hovorka, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to India, responded to questions from India Empire’s Editor and Publisher Sayantan Chakravarty. The monthly magazine had put him on our cover, jointly in the November 2017 edition, and individually in our October 2018 issue. He speaks about the historicity of our deep political and cultural connection, the well-established economic and commercial relations including cooperation in the manufacture of heavy duty defence vehicles, passenger cars, shoes, technology partnerships and much more.

By Sayantan Chakravarty
  • H.E. Mr Milan Hovorka, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to India

Greetings from the India Empire Magazine. On the occasion of National Day, please talk us through the historicity of relations between the Czech Republic and India…

Czech Republic and India have always had good relations in trade, culture and politics. The first Czechoslovak Consulate was set up in Bombay in 1920, shortly after Czechoslovak independence. Since then Czech Republic has maintained strong diplomatic relations in the country.

A big step was the establishment of Czech Bata Works in Batanagar in Calcutta in 1930, which had over 100 employees in the 1930. An important sector of bilateral trade cooperation between the two countries is the automotive industry. Skoda Auto is flourishing in India with its widespread productions of Skoda cars as well as a collection of 106 outlets, 69 dealerships and 67 service centres across the country. In 2017, Škoda Auto sold 17,438 units in India. In July 2018, Czech vehicle manufacturer Tatra was reported to be stepping into a partnership along with Reliance Defence in order to build military trucks for India.

Czech educational institutions—particularly technical universities and medical colleges—are interested in exchange programmes with counterpart Indian institutions; they would also like to attract more of the Indian students who go abroad for graduate and post-graduate studies. There is ongoing cooperation in educational and scientific exchanges.

Today, both Czech Republic and India have established close relations in trade, investment and tourism.

We understand that in spite of the ongoing pandemic, bilateral economic relations have remained stable. Kindly let us have your view point on this…

Economic relations between Czechia and India are, of course, affected by the ongoing pandemic. However the volume of our mutual trade has even increased due to the export of mobile phones produced in India and exported to the Czech Republic. I believe that with our best efforts we will not see any major negative changes in post-pandemic consolidation of our bilateral economic relations.

The Czech Republic has important partnerships in the automobile segment, and sees India as the third largest market in the world, going forward. Please throw some light on this…

The most famous brand of the Czech automotive industry, Škoda, has its representation in India. The facility in Pune currently produces the Volkswagen Polo, Ameo, and Vento and the ŠKODA Rapid and the Aurangabad plant produces various premium and luxury models of ŠKODA, Volkswagen, and Audi. Between the two production facilities and the sales and marketing teams of the five passenger car brands, ŠKODA AUTO VOLKSWAGEN INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED employs over 4,800 people across different locations in India.