September 2017 \ Interviews \ COUNTRY FOCUS: SLOVAK REPUBLIC
“We are an attractive investment destination in Central Europe”

H.E. Mr Zigmund Bertok, Ambassador of the Slovak Republic in India, speaks to India Empire’s Editor and Publisher Sayantan Chakravarty at the Embassy in New Delhi...

Is the Slovak Republic engaging with India on any of its Mission Mode projects, such as Smart Cities, Make in India, Clean Ganga and Digital India?

Given our size, at this point we do not have the capacity to become a strategic partner with the Indian Government. But we do follow the European Union area of cooperation, and our companies are trying to participate in EU tenders. Through the flagship programmes of the Indian Government, there are possibilities to create new opportunities in India and fast-pace growth and development. Many of our companies are opening up JVs in India, thanks to Make in India. They are focusing on production here in India. We have many small and medium companies focused on water management and water treatment. A water partnership was signed in 2016 between EU and India and it has helped open up possibilities for Slovak companies to work in the water business. Also, the European Investment Bank has started a special branch in India with an initial investment of 100 million Euros for supporting work in the environmental field. We are a nation that specializes in water management. We have the largest European rivers passing through our country. We have a number of hot springs and large reservoirs of underground water.

Kindly give us an overview of tourism opportunities in Slovak Republic, and if Indian tourism to your country is on the rise?

We have lot of spas, hot springs with rich minerals, and many summer and winter sports. We love our food, wine and beer. Indian people enjoy their stay in Slovakia. The main tourism attraction in Central Europe comprises Prague, Vienna, Budapest. We are also capitalizing on that tourist movement, and find that interest in Slovakia is on the increase. Tourists are discovering Slovakia’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, natural and protected habitats, and also the hidden beauty of our castles. We, for instance, have more castles than Scotland. Some of them are now hotels and are ready to serve as conference and wedding destinations. Some are hill-top chateaus and offer brilliant views of Austria on one side, and Hungary on the other. The landscape and greenery is very attractive. Bollywood can explore Slovkia fully, because the nation is so scenic and unspoilt. The new series on Marco Polo was shot in Slovakia.