Ukraine is our the second partner, after Russia, in the territory of former Soviet Union
"Kiev Telegraph", issue (194)
January 26 is the main national holiday in India - "Gantatra Divas"
or Day of Republic. It is not the only reason of interview, with Extraordinary
and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of India in Ukraine Mr. Shehkholen Kipgen. Period
of "freeze " in Ukrainian - Indian Relations, due to from one side close
cooperation of Kyiv with Pakistan - old rival of India and from other side Ukrainian
rigid critic of Indian Nuclear Program, when Delhi has taken offence at it, is
probably finished. Even these circumstances did not prevent Ukrainian economic
cooperation with the biggest country in the World, country, which has boundless
and spacious market. It is the main subject of interview with Mr. Kipgen.
QUESTION: Mr. Ambassador, There are a lot of people that like Indian movie
in the former Soviet Union. What is the reason? Are our people and citizens
so close to each other?
ANSWER: Yes, I remember very well, that Indian movies were very popular in
Soviet Union and of course in Ukraine. Probably all Ukrainians know the name
of Raj Kapoor. Traditionally, Indian-Ukrainian relations go back to 1500 BC
when the Indo-Aryans, settled in parts of Ukraine started their long odyssey
to India. Close affinity between the Sanskrit and the Ukrainian languages bear
testimony to our historical ties. It is matter of great interest that while
names of places like VISHNOPOIL and KRISHNOPIL exist in Ukraine. A lot of ancient
inscriptions were found in Ukraine in Sanskrit. By the way I have an article
regarding resemblance of Hindi, Sanskrit and Ukrainian. A lot of words, names,
surnames are look like, for example "Sveta" is Indian name but it
is also recognised as Ukrainian. "Maydan" is also from Sanskrit."Trizub"
that is National Emblem is named in India as "Trisun". No wonder that
Ukrainian interests in Indian culture, because Indian culture also includes
QUESTION: India has for example serious social problems and at the same
time has so substantial growth of IT, electronics etc. What do you think? Is
it phenomenon? Is there some Program of Support from the side of Indian Government?
ANSWER: It is really very interesting question. I start from that our Premier
Minister Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru was a wise man and could see the future. He said
" Let us build many temples of knowledge". And nowadays India has
one of the best High Education System in the world. Indian Institutes of Technologies,
Engineering, Medical Colleges are able to compete with the best Education Institutes
of the World. Students after finishing their education become high-qualified
specialists in different fields. Undoubtedly they actively affect further promotion
and development of high technologies to the world market. Even the man who created
well known to every Internet user - Hotmail is an Indian native and graduated
from Indian Institute of Technology. Currently IT exports of India comes to
$6 Bln. annually. It is high figure, isn't it? At the same time problem of poverty
is still topical. In general India is a country of contrasts. We possess nuclear
technologies but at the same time there are rickshaws on the streets. Our country
is divided in very Rich and very Poor people. But gradually Middle class develops.
QUESTION: Can you estimate the dynamics, development and prospects of economic
and political relations between India and Ukraine?
ANSWER: Indian Ukrainian relations have been close and friendly. In 1991, after
breaking up of the Soviet Union, India has recognized Ukraine as Independent
and Sovereign State and in January 1992, has established diplomatic relations.
In May, 1992 Indian diplomatic mission was opened. Ukraine has opened its mission
in Delhi in February, 1993. Since 2000 Bilateral relations are developing satisfactorily
in comprehensive areas - not only political and economic but defense, science,
& technology, space, education, tourism and culture. President Leonid Kuchma's
visit in October 2002 proved a historic landmark in our relations. Ukrainian-Indian
relations are steadily developing. We are obliged to President Kuchma for it,
he is architect of our close friendship. High level exchanges of visits between
India and Ukraine have taken place in 2003. Minister of Steel, Defense and representatives
of various Business circles visited Ukraine. Ukrainian former Foreign Minister
Anatoly Zlenko and a parliamentary delegation led by Mr. Lytvin, Chairman of
the Supreme Council visited India. We also had foreign office consultations.
It strengthens close cooperation between our countries.
QUESTION: :And criticism of Indian nuclear tests? did it prevent close cooperation
ANSWER: In spite of primary criticism of our nuclear tests, Ukraine has come
to understand our defense aims and necessity to posses nuclear weapon. Currently
Kyiv supports India's striving for becoming aspirations permanent member of
Security Council of UN and fight against terrorism at the borders of India.
Ukraine supports Indian point of view that J&K problem has to be solved
through bilateral negotiations. Generally Ukraine is the second partner, after
Russia, in the territory of former Soviet Union, both in Trade, Economic and
Defense Cooperation. Ukraine was and currently is the source of procurement
of spares and defense equipment such as gas turbines for our naval vessels .Our
bilateral trade turnover has been around $270 Mln you will agree with me, is
a minimal amount. There are tremendous opportunities that exists between India
and Ukraine to increase the volume of trade. The balance of trade is in Ukraine's
favor. Exports from Ukraine in 2002 was $158 Mln and imports from India $110.
For the period January-July 2003 - $109 Mln and $78 Mln respectively.
QUESTION: What is the structure of Bilateral Cooperation?
ANSWER: India has an opportunity to export wide range of various products -
tea, coffee, pharmaceuticals, perfumery and cosmetics, natural rubber, cloth,
equipment, leather products, cotton, agricultural commodities, plastic and linoleum
products, Ayurvedic products (Indian traditional medicine) etc. Ukraine exports
ferrous metals, fertilizers, chemicals, electrical equipment, for manufacture
of steel, engineering equipment, steel etc. There are real opportunities in
cooperation in field of machine building, shipbuilding, light industry, mining,
joint projects in Metallurgy, Coke industry, and modernization of Indian Steel
plants with Technical assistance of Ukraine. Ukraine is famous as manufacturer
of gas as per world requirements, steel turbines, thermoelectric, hydroelectric
and nuclear stations, compressors, transformers, pumps, electric engines for
lining of Electrical transmission lines. There are opportunities in cooperation
in field of construction of power stations in India. One of the most prominent
Indian private company "Tata Group" would like to invest in Steel
sector in Ukraine, this question is under consideration currently. There are
a lot of agreements between our countries that have already been signed: Agreement
on Double Taxation Avoidance, Agreement on Merchant Shipping, Tourism and many
It is necessary to mention about cooperation in field of science and technology,
education, culture. We are planning a visit of the Minister of Science and Technology
to Kyiv. Agreement on Science and Technical Cooperation is presently at the
final stage and is planning to be signed during the visit of Mr. Murali Manohar
Joshi. Ukrainian - Indian Committee on Scientific and Technical Cooperation
was created in 1992, and there were three meetings since 2000-2003, executed
approximately 15 projects. We think that knowledge of Ukraine in field of Science
and Technique will be useful for our country. India and Ukraine have signed
Agreement on Cooperation in field of Tourism in order to keep contacts and get
to know more about culture and traditions of each other. I was glad to get to
know that Ukrainians show serious interest in Indian culture, Indian languages,
Classical Indian Dances and Music, Religion, Philosophy and Yoga. The poems
of the famous Indian Poet Rabindranath Tagore have been already translated from
Bengali to Ukrainian as well as poems of the famous son of Ukraine, Poet Taras
Shevchenko, have been translated to Hindi Bengali, Tamil, and others. Indology
Science and Research Center was created in June 2000, with the support of Ukrainian
Academy of Science. Recently "Aerosvit" Company has established direct
flight between Kyiv and Delhi that will facilitate establishing more close contacts
between our peoples.
QUESTION: Did India forgive Ukraine tank contract with Pakistan?
ANSWER: Yes I agree that in 1997-2000 was some cooling in Indian - Ukrainian
relations and not only due to sale of tanks to Pakistan, but Indian Nuclear
Tests in May, 1998. Our relations over come it. I can say with pleasure that
we do not come back to that time. Our present relations are strong now as never
previously. I would like to emphasize, that Ukraine is an independent and sovereign
country and is free to establish bilateral relations and friendship relations
with any country. India will not be in her way. But at first, of course, India
was not glad with reaction of Ukraine but the past is forgotten, we have to
QUESTION: Indian - Pakistanian relations are strained more than 50 years.
What has changed after the visit of the Prime Minister of India to Islamabad
and meeting to the President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf?
ANSWER: I see, events in our region are under your close attention. First of
all it is necessary to say that India has done everything in her power to solve
problems between the two countries, including J&K problem. The base of mutual
dialogue was agreement which was signed in Shimla, in 1972. Our Prime Minister,
made his historic visit to Lahore on February 20-21, 1999, at that time when
General Musharraf was planning his treason in Kargil. Our Government made one
more step to set peace by inviting of Pakistani President to Agra for a Summit
on 14-16 July, 2001 in spite of terrorist attacks to democratic institutions,
including the attack on our Parliament building. However our efforts were unsuccessful
because of our neighbour did not strive for peace. But meanwhile unofficial
diplomacy still continued to keep contacts between parliamentarians and public
men, and in April 2003 Prime Minister Atal Behairi Vajpayee announced about
readiness for bilateral peaceful negotiations. Since that time it was restored
a bus route between Delhi and Pakistani city Lahore, as well as railway and
flight communication. SAARC Summit which took place in first part of January,
prepared historical basis for present meeting of our Prime Minister with President
Musharraf and Prime Minister Mir Zafarul Khan Jamali in Islamabad. Both Ministers
of Foreign Affairs and State Secretaries held a meeting to discuss current problems,
Joint communique and decision to carry out consultations between two countries
were slated for February 2004. Moreover Agreement on free trade, signed by seven
SAARC members will promote economical and commercial cooperation in the region
and will be positive for strengthening of trade and economic relations between
the two countries and help to decrease tension between two countries.
QUESTION: What is the Indian attitude towards Muslim terrorism? What can
official Delhi oppose to Muslim fundamentalism, that takes strong stand in some
ANSWER: India is an independent state where people enjoy the freedom of religion.
India ranks the second in the world after Indonesia as per percentage of Muslims,
it exceeds the whole population of Pakistan. India shares the world's attitude
towards terrorism, especially after September 11. However, not all Muslims are
terrorists. It is difficult to find an Indian Muslim - terrorist. For example,
we have ascertained that all the militants in J&K were foreigners and were
specially trained for that purpose in foreign army camps.
QUESTION: How does India solve the problem of poverty of majority of its
ANSWER: Economy of India is a booming economy with its GDP increasing more
than 7% annually. Its currency reserves make up $100 Bln. According to the purchasing
power India ranks the the fourth. One of the prominent field of Indian Ecoomy-
IT export that is recognized in the whole world. Economic reforms, which started
in 1991, have already shown great potential of India and by 2020 India will
become rather a developed country. So called "green revolution", the
essence of which was is cultivating a great amount of grain-crops with the help
of modern technologies and fertilizers, made India from an importer of American
wheat in 1970-s to an exporter with the reserve of more than 30 million tons.
"White revolution" - creating of milk co-operatives to help farmers
milk producers to rank the first among the world producers of milk. Moreover,
Indian people can be proud of the fact that India has the largest agricultural
sector. It will help to increase employment and support the governmental program
on fighting against poverty. Furthermore, the 20 million Indian Diaspora also
make investments that stimulate economic development of the country.
QUESTION: How sharp is emigration problems in India ?
ANSWER: Unfortunately, the problem is still sharp for us. The government of
India is going to take serious measures for solving this problem because such
problems cast a shadow on Government's reputation. But I think it's an international
problem. For example, there are millions of Bangladesh illegals in India. The
better the country becomes the more illegal immigrants arrive. But Indian illegals
come into Ukraine to use it as a transit country on their way to Europe.
QUESTION: Is there any agreement between Ukraine and India regarding readmission?
Is there the mechanism to let refugees come back to India ?
ANSWER: Unfortunately we do not have a special agreement. We have recently
QUESTION: India is well known in Ukraine for its literature for example
"Kamasutra". Does this book have the same strong influence in India
as in Ukraine? Is it something special for Indian society or just a monument
ANSWER: I will tell you the following: it is necessary to be circus artiste
to follow "Kamasutra". There are very few people who are in such good
physical condition to be able to live guided by this book. Though it is still
very popular as the book of knowledge.
QUESTION: There were a lot of Indian students who were coming to study in
the USSR and in Ukraine in particular during Soviet times. Has anything changed
ANSWER: Currently more than 2500 Indian students are studying in Ukraine -
in medical universities, institutes of civil aviation, different courses. But
Indian higher education institutions are rather developed as well, they can
even compete with American institutions. By the way, the majority of foreign
students in the USA are from India.
QUESTION: Mr. Ambassador, some Indians, probably, stay in Ukraine on legal
basis, get married, for example, or find job. Is there Indian Diaspora in Ukraine?
How many Indians are in Ukraine currently?
ANSWER: Basically, Indian entrepreneurs live in Ukraine. They make their contribution
to the economy of your country. Sometimes it is not pleasant when Indian people
who invest $ 20-30 Mln. are stopped in the street for checking of documents
as illegal. There are a lot of Indians who don't live in India but they invest
in Ukraine as well. For example, Indians from Hong Kong bought the hotel "Rus".
Indians built even "Metrograd" in Kyiv.
QUESTION: What does Sonia Gandhi do now? What place does the Gandhi family
take in Indian society?
ANSWER: Sonia Gandhi is the leader of opposition party "Indian National
Congress" which has strong position among Indian political parties. Ukrainian
President Kuchma and Speaker of Verkhovna Rada Lytvyn during their visits to
India also had a meeting with the leader of INC Sonia Gandhi Let's say like
that - we do not move our opposition aside. We let them communicate with people
and express their opinions.
QUESTION: Ukrainian people know that rajahs - Indian princes played important
role in India. How do they feel now, in a democratic society?
ANSWER: They used to be the richest people in the world in their time. After
India started following the socialist principales it was over but they have
received certain compensation. However some of them are still being famous in
India. For example, the Chief Minister of Panjab is a former rajah. Chief Minister
of Rajasthan is a former princess. The palaces which belonged to rajahs in the
past, now are the best Indian hotels.
QUESTION: Could you please tell us how actual are now problems of women's
equality in India ? Do they have free access to education like in European countries?
Does this problem exist?
ANSWER: Constitution of India guarantees women's equality. Indian women are
completely independent of men.Women take part in political and economical life
of the country on equal right with men They often become managers of big companies.
One Indian woman has even been in space. As per information of high education
institutes women are even more successful in studying than men.